At present vaccinations are taking place in hospital hubs; GP led vaccination services; roving services to care homes and the housebound; and in mass vaccination sites/pharmacy sites across the country.
If you are aged over 70 or extremely clinically vulnerable and have not yet received a vaccination appointment please contact the NHS to make one. You can do this by ringing 119 or logging on to the NHS website book a vaccination appointment
Hospital hub vaccination services are up and running at the Conquest Hospital in Hastings and the Eastbourne DG Hospital. These hubs are currently vaccinating all NHS, health and social care workers who are working on the frontline.
GP-led vaccination services are where the majority of the current population are being offered their vaccinations. In total in Sussex there are 15 sites which have gone live to date. In the majority, each service is supported by a number of GP practices (within their Primary Care Network footprint) working together to vaccinate their collective population. Currently in East Sussex, six GP-led vaccination services have gone live and have all started to vaccinate patients over the age of 80.
Roving service – the vaccine is being taken into care homes and into people’s own homes if they cannot attend a vaccination site. This is being stepped up over the coming weeks as more supplies of the vaccines become available. GP surgeries are in the processing of contacting their housebound patients in order to schedule their vaccinations. All housebound patients over the age of 70 are due to be vaccinated by 15 February.
Mass vaccination centres & pharmacy sites: From 1 February, a new vaccination centre opened in Eastbourne to provide eligible people across Sussex a further opportunity to receive their vaccine. People who are eligible can book an appointment through a national booking system and will receive their vaccine by teams from Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, who are running the service. This new centre in addition to the Brighton Centre which opened on 25 January gives all those who are eligible another way to receive their vaccine, in addition to their local GP-led vaccination services.
Pharmacy-led sites have also opened in Ticehurst and Hastings. Patients in receipt of an NHS letter can choose to book into a pharmacy-led site through the national booking system. If the options for these do not appear, this will be because the slots have already been taken. More slots will open up when supplies of vaccine are confirmed. It would therefore be helpful to ring or log into the site at a different time if a pharmacy site nearer to you is your preference.
The national NHS booking service will be writing to eligible people providing them all the details they need to book an appointment online or over the phone. Anyone receiving a letter from the national booking service can choose whether to book an appointment at a vaccination centre, or wait until they are contacted by their GP for a local appointment if that would be more convenient.
The increase in the number of vaccination sites going live for local residents over the past weeks has been as a result of the great work of our local NHS teams. Some areas faced more challenges to get services up and running, such as Rural Rother (which includes Battle) and Heathfield (including its surrounds) and Hailsham. However, most of these areas are now being well-served by GP and pharmacy-led vaccination services and supplemented by the mass vaccination centres. The provision in Eastern Rother remains a challenge for residents who are registered with GP practices nearer to Rye. I and Sally-Ann Hart, MP for Hastings and Rye and I have been working closely with the Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust to provide a solution. I hope an announcement on an additional vaccination centre in this area is imminent.
Bexhill and surrounds:
The nearest site for Bexhill residents, and those nearby, is at Sidley Medical Practice. This vaccination site was the first to go live in the constituency and has been vaccinating patients since 29 December. it has been set up and is being run and resourced by the following Bexhill GP practices in order to vaccinate their patients:
Collington Surgery, Little Common Surgery, Pebsham Surgery and Sidley Medical Practice
Pevensey and surrounds:
Sovereign Centre is the site for patients at:
Arlington Road Surgery, Grove Road Surgery, Park Practice, Seaside Medical Centre, and The Lighthouse Medical Practice
Princes Park Health Centre, for patients at:
Harbour Medical Practice, Sovereign Practice, Stone Cross Surgery in Pevensey, and Downlands Medical Centre and Manor Park Surgery, both in Polegate
Rural Rother (including Battle)
For numerous reasons, it was not possible to achieve a Primary Care Network solution in these parts therefore work has been taking place with the Sussex Community NHS Foundation and the local GP surgeries to agree a system to vaccinate their patients. I raised the lack of a solution for Rural Rother with the Prime Minister in the House of Commons at the beginning of January.
As a solution, rural Rother GP practices will be served by a vaccination hub at Etchingham village hall which began its first vaccinations on 20 January. More than a thousand people have now received their COVID-19 vaccination at Etchingham.
The GP led vaccination service at Etchingham Village Hall is a partnership between Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust and the following GP practices:
Fairfield Surgery, Ferry Road Health Centre, Martins Oak Surgery, Northiam and Broad Oak Surgery, Oldwood Surgery, Rye Medical Centre, and Sedlescombe and Westfield Surgeries.
Patients from those GP practices who are over the age of 80 will be the first to receive the vaccination from this service.
I have had a number of constituents contact me from Rother Levels asking why they need to travel to Etchingham. The reason is that the Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at very low temperatures, which is why large sites needed to be set up to deliver a significant number of vaccines every day. This is also why people who are being vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine need to travel to the hub to get the vaccine.
Whilst it’s great news that Etchingham has started vaccinating I am still pushing for a solution in Battle and rural Rother. I am working closely with our local NHS on an almost daily basis about further locations in the area and how the vaccination can be offered from GP practices to make it as easy as possible for people to receive this vaccination. However, for this to be viable we need greater supplies of the Astra Zeneca vaccine.
I’ve asked the Vaccines Minister and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to consider a more simplified contract for GPs which is less onerous on opening hours and would see the GPs in this area take Astra Zeneca only. The Pfizer vaccines which have more challenging storage and transportation should be focussed at the bigger venues.
This is a fast-moving programme and there may be the option to provide the vaccine from more sites across our communities confirmed this week.
Heathfield and its surrounds
COVID-19 vaccinations have been completed for all patients over the age of 80 from Heathfield Surgery who have been able to travel to the GP-led vaccination centre at The Meads Surgery in Uckfield and at some of GP practice sites in the Greater Wealden Primary Care Network.
The vaccination team from the Meads have already covered care homes in the Heathfield area.
I have had a number of constituents contact me from Heathfield and its surrounding area asking why they needed to travel to Uckfield. The reason is because the Primary Care Network covering this part of Wealden has identified Uckfield as the local centre to deliver the Pfizer vaccine. I am aware that Heathfield residents, and those from its surrounds, would like to be vaccinated nearer to home.
Last week, the Heathfield Surgery announced that it is now able to join the Greater Wealden PCN and will be vaccinating its own patients in the next priority cohorts. This is very good news for Heathfield residents and I am grateful to all those who helped achieve this.
I’d like to thank everyone in the NHS for helping to find the interim and final solution. I’d also like to thank our Parish Council and residents for communicating and showing patience. I am sorry that residents have not received the vaccination as quickly as other parts of Sussex. I am assured that Sussex supplies will be aimed at finishing each priority cohort before moving to another so I fully expect our area to catch up.
Punnetts Town, Rushlake Green & Dallington
A number of my constituents are registered with GP surgeries which are part of the Hailsham and District Primary Care Network (PCN). The latest information for these patients is as follows:
GPs from the three surgeries which serve Hailsham and its surrounds – Bridgeside Surgery, Hailsham Medical Group and The Quintins Medical Centre – are working in partnership with Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust to provide the vaccination to their patients, starting with those over the age of 80.
Vaccinations are taking place individually by teams at each GP practice.
Each team worked to delivered vaccinations for the first two priority groups as recommended by the JCVI – care homes residents and registered patients aged 80 and over.
By the end of 24 January, approximately 1200 vaccines will have been delivered to the most vulnerable people in Hailsham.
Anyone aged 80 and over who was not able to receive the vaccine over the weekend of 23/24 January will remain on the GP practice list and will be invited for their vaccination at the earliest next opportunity.
Travel to Vaccination Sites:
Please be aware that under government guidelines a family member or friend is permitted to take a person to their COVID-19 vaccine appointment, which is classed as an exemption as it is a ‘medical appointment’. Guidance on how to do this safely is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers#private-cars-and-other-vehicles (scroll down to ‘Car sharing’).
Information about community transport can be found on the East Sussex County Council website: https://www.eastsussex.gov.uk/roadsandtransport/public/communitytransport/guide/about/. Other options are being explored for those who cannot call upon friends and family.
When going for a vaccination
- People are asked not to arrive early for appointments. Arriving on time will help manage numbers at the site and help to keep everyone safe.
- Always remember Hands, Face, Space. It will save lives and help the NHS.