'STAY AT HOME, PROTECT THE NHS, SAVE LIVES'
As we enter this current national lockdown the staff at the health centre are actively involved in the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine. The government have prioritised the vaccination of everyone in the 4 most vulnerable groups within the next 6-8 weeks. This is a massive undertaking. As such we ask for your support in only contacting us for urgent clinical problems or symptoms that are concerning you. This includes symptoms that you worry may be cancer. We are suspending routine work including medication review and routine blood tests, allowing us to prioritise the vaccine roll out, continuation of childhood vaccinations, cervical screening, and management of patients with new or worrying symptoms. We also need to limit the footfall through the practice to maintain safety for patients and staff. We will review this in line with government review of lockdown, but ask for your support and help in only contacting us when absolutely necessary.
COVID-19 vaccinations available for patients in groups 1 and 2
To check latest availability at our vaccination clinic at Congleton Town Hall telephone 0161 6604280 9am and 6pm, Monday to Friday
To book online at one of the Mass Vaccination Centres (nearest are Manchester and Liverpool) or designated pharmacies (nearest are Macclesfield and Alsager) click here
COVID-19 vaccination update 21/1/21
Latest clinic dates
Stop press: special one-off clinic Saturday morning, 23/1/21 at Holmes Chapel Health Centre for:
patients aged 80 and over
patients who have been shielding following medical advice
Almost all our most vulnerable patients have now had their first COVID-19 vaccine. In order to complete the first phase of the vaccination programme, the practice has managed to obtain a limited number of doses of vaccine to run a special clinic on Saturday morning, 23rd January. We are offering appointments to all those aged 80 and over who have not yet been able to arrange a vaccination, plus patients who have been shielding following medical advice. This is a one-off clinic that we have been able to put on to help particularly those in the oldest age group who have struggled to travel to Congleton or further afield. Because we have some extra vaccines available we are making all remaining appointments in this clinic available for patients who have been shielding following medical advice. Booking for this clinic only is through the Health Centre 01477 533100.
Once we have completed first vaccinations for this group we can move on to the next risk groups, those aged 70 and over and patients who are clinically extremely vulnerable, but there are no plans to run further clinics at the Health Centre. All future vaccinations will be at the clinic run at Congleton Town Hall, and bookings for these appointments will be made through the call centre 0161 6604280.
Vaccination of housebound patients is being arranged by the community nursing team as and when vaccines are made available to them. Clearly this is more time consuming, and whenever possible we encourage patients to arrange an appointment at the clinics whenever possible.
The practice is working with the three practices in Congleton (forming our Primary Care Network) to deliver vaccinations to the most vulnerable patients, currently people aged 80 and over, and front line health and social care workers. We are not able to offer vaccinations to groups 3 and 4 until the more vulnerable groups have been offered a vaccination. The speed of vaccination is limited by availability of vaccine; as soon as vaccine is made available to the practices clinics are arranged so that it is administered as quickly as possible. By next week all patients in residential homes, and all those aged 80 and over will have had the opportunity to receive a vaccination, and we can start to vaccinate the next risk group.
Clinics for Holmes Chapel Health Centre patients are held at Congleton Town Hall. The dates of the next clinics will be announced as soon as we have guaranteed deliveries of vaccine. You can check availability on this website, or by telephoning the booking centre 0161 6604280 between 9am and 6pm, Monday to Friday.
Letters are now being sent to people in groups 3 and 4, (everyone aged 70 and over and all clinically extremely vulnerable patients) by NHS England to invite them to have their first COVID-19 vaccination. You can only book an appointment if you have received an invitation letter, and at this stage you may only book an appointment online at one of the seventeen Mass Vaccination Centres (the nearest are at the Etihad Tennis Centre in Manchester and St.Helens Rugby Ground in Liverpool) and certain pharmacies (the nearest are in Macclesfield and Alsager). If you have received an invitation letter you may an appointment online here.
If you have been informed you are now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination please try to book the first available appointment. Some patients are waiting to see if clinics are made available at the practice rather than travel for an appointment at Congleton, or one of the Mass Vaccination Centres. The purpose of the vaccine is not only to protect individuals, but also to reduce the impact of COVID-19 infection on our hospitals. Delaying your vaccination increases the risk of the NHS being overloaded, which increases the risk to everyone.
The availability of clinics and the rate of vaccination is entirely dependant on the supply of vaccines, which is outside our control. But the good news is the practice is on track to deliver vaccines to all patients in the at risk groups 1-4 by mid-February!
Link to news
- The vaccination programme is being organised centrally by NHS England and co-ordinated by our Primary Care Network
- The vaccination is being offered to the most vulnerable patients first
- People will be notified by letter from NHS England when they are eligible to receive their first vaccination
- The vaccination hub for Holmes Chapel Health Centre patients is Congleton Town Hall, 7 High Street, Congleton CW12 1BN. Further appointments will be announced shortly
- Appointments are also now available to book online at one of seventeen mass vaccination centres (the nearest are at the Etihad Tennis Centre in Manchester and St.Helens Rugby Ground in Liverpool) and certain pharmacies (the nearest are in Macclesfield and Alsager. If you have received an invitation letter you may book an appointment online here
- The second dose of vaccine will be given after an interval of 10-12 weeks. To help protect all patients, and ease the demands on hospitals we need to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible, and delaying the second dose increases the number of people who can benefit from the vaccine.
Three COVID-19 vaccines are available. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was licensed in mid-December and was used to start the world's first COVID-19 vaccination programme before Christmas. The most vulnerable patients were targeted, starting with patients in care homes. This vaccine has the limitation that it has to be stored at extremely low temperatures, less than minus 70 degrees Celsius, making it impractical for use in GP surgeries because of the requirement for specialist cold storage facilities. To overcome this, NHS England arranged for the vaccine to be administered at designated vaccination centres, or hubs, each to cover a number of practices. The hub for Holmes Chapel Health Centre and other practices in our Primary Care Network, is Congleton Town Hall.
The vaccine will be offered to the most vulnerable patients first. NHS England has devised a list of nine high-priority groups, which cover about a quarter of the UK population, and represents up to 99% of those most at risk of dying from COVID-19 infection.
- Residents in care homes for older adults and their carers
- 80 year-olds and over and frontline health and social care workers
- 75 year-olds and over
- 70 year-olds and over and clinically extremely vulnerable (shielding) individuals
- 65 year-olds and over
- 16 to 64 year-olds with serious underlying health conditions
- 60 year-olds and over
- 55 year-olds and over
- 50 year-olds and over
Starting with those at greatest risk, people will be contacted directly by letter by NHS England as they become eligible. Our Primary Care Network has also employed the services of a Booking Centre, to contact patients by text message or by telephone, in which case they will offer to speak to you, your carer or another person on your behalf if required, to help book your appointment. We are aware of concerns re cold calling and scams - please be advised that calls regarding booking a COVID-19 vaccine at Congleton Town Hall are genuine and you will be asked to confirm your name, DOB, address only in order to book your vaccination appointment.
If you have not been contacted and you are aged 80 and above you may also book your appointment directly on 0161 6604280.
Seventeen mass vaccinations centres are operating across England from Monday 18/1/21, representing the latest government initiative to vaccinate 15 million people in the top four priority groups by mid-February. More letters are being sent to inform people aged 80 and over living with a 45 minute drive of a centre of the availability of this new service, inviting them to book an appointment at one of the hubs. Of the available mass vaccination hubs the nearest to the practice are in Manchester and Liverpool, but most patients from the practice will prefer to travel to the local clinic in Congleton, even though this may mean waiting a little longer for vaccination. The government is also rolling on out COVID-19 vaccinations at some larger pharmacies. The number available will increase over the next few weeks, but currently the nearest pharmacies offering vaccines are in Macclesfield and Alsager.
Our vaccination clinics are held at Congleton Town Hall and have been organised as a joint venture between Congleton and Holmes Chapel practices by our Primary Care Network. People in the at risk groups are being vaccinated as quickly as supplies of vaccine allow. Since clinics started on 8/1/21 and over 2000 patients in the highest risk groups have been vaccinated. More clinics will be announced as vaccine becomes available, so although patients may choose to book a vaccination appointment at one of the mass vaccination centres, it should be possible to book one closer to home soon.
There is understandably a very high demand for appointments and the booking centre is very busy. Patients have advised that they are experiencing very long waits when trying to book a vaccination appointment. Unfortunately this is outside our control. Please be patient, you will be answered eventually. Please be assured, all eligible patients will be offered a COVID-19 vaccination, and further appointments will be made available over the coming weeks.
Given the high level of protection afforded by the first dose, the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation has now confirmed that vaccinating a greater number of people with a single dose will prevent more deaths and hospitalisations than vaccinating a smaller number of people with two doses. To help protect all patients, and ease the demands on hospitals we need to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible, including our frontline health and care workforce. All patients are therefore being advised that their second dose appointments are being rescheduled for around 12 weeks after the first dose. Whenever possible, it is important that the second dose is the same type of vaccine as the first dose.
A second vaccine, developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca, has been made available from 4/1/21. This vaccine does not require storage at such extreme low temperatures, and we expect to receive supplies of this vaccine over the next few weeks. This will enable us to set up our own vaccination clinics at the Health Centre, but as yet we do not know when this will be. We therefore strongly encourage all patients to book the first vaccination appointment available to them, so that you can start being protected as soon as possible.
A third vaccine, developed by Moderna, has now been licensed for use. Supplies have been ordered by the UK government but its availability is not known at this time.
We understand that there will be adequate supplies of all vaccines available to vaccinate all patients who would like it, and we are obviously committed to trying to do this as soon as supplies allow. Please be patient. If you feel you may be at risk and have to wait for your vaccination it is important you take extra care to avoid unnecessary contact, and follow the government's advice regarding social distancing, hand washing and wearing a face covering.
The target to vaccinate 15 million people in the top four priority groups by mid-February is currently on target. All staff at Holmes Chapel Health Centre are committed to do everything we can to help achieve this goal.
Holmes Chapel Health Centre - General Information
During these difficult times we have changed our opening times. We are currently open from 8am to 6:30pm Monday to Friday, but will be closed between 1pm and 2pm each day.
Please do not attend the practice if you suspect you may have COVID-19 infection, either because you have symptoms (cough, fever, loss of taste or smell), have tested positive for COVID-19, or if you have been in contact with someone who has suspected COVID-19 infection or tested positive for COVID-19. If you need medical assistance whilst you suspect you may have COVID-19 infection please ensure you inform the receptionist, doctor or nurse by telephone that you are potentially infectious.
Patients suffering from possible COVID-19 infection cannot be seen at the Health Centre due to the risk to staff and other patients. Instead they will be provided with an appointment at the nearest 'Hot Hub' where fully protected medical staff will be better placed to assess patients.
Building work is nearing completion and we now have a functioning waiting room again. However, because COVID-19 restrictions still apply, we have to continue to restrict access to the building. If you have been asked to attend the Health Centre please contact reception using the buzzer to the left of the main door, to speak to one of our reception staff. Depending on the number of patients waiting you will asked to come into the Health Centre or wait outside until space is available. As the weather is likely to be cold and possibly wet, please ensure you wear warm clothing, protection from the rain. If you struggle to stand please inform reception staff so that they can make provision for you, but please bear in mind space is limited. Please ensure you wear some form of face covering when attending the Health Centre. If you have been advised that you may be exempt from wearing a face covering please discuss this when booking your appointment. To limit the number of patients waiting we request that you do not arrive more than 5 minutes before your appointment. Thank you for you continued understanding and support.
Government advice on the use of face coverings can be found here http://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers#face-coverings This guidance states that people who are deemed clinically extremely vulnerable, including those with health, age or equality reasons, don’t have to wear a face covering. There is no requirement to produce evidence for exemption. Therefore Holmes Chapel Health Centre WILL NOT provide exemption letters. We would strongly encourage all people to wear a face covering/mask in enclosed public places. Keep safe and well.
We continue to see patients at the Health Centre, but all requests will be via telephone appointment with a GP or nurse. Patients will then be offered a face to face appointment if required.
If you have an urgent medical need please telephone the Health Centre on 01477 533100 and choose option 2. You will be offered a telephone appointment on the day with a clinician who will decide what action needs to be taken. We are not taking any advance bookings.
Prescription collection - Due to demand:
- Prescriptions may be collected between 08:30 and 13:00, and 14:00 and 18:30.
- Please allow 1 week for prescription requests
- Our new Dispensary is now open and available for collection of prescriptions for all patients who have not specified a preferred pharmacy.
- COVID-19 restrictions currently limit the Dispensary Waiting Room to two patients at a time - please wear a face covering when entering the building.
- If you are collecting a prescription on behalf of another patient you will need to provide staff with their name, date of birth and address. Unfortunately if you are unable to provide this information we will not be able to hand over the prescription.
- Due to laboratory resources we will only be able to accept samples a clinician has requested, all other samples will be destroyed.
Covid-19 Information for patients
You need to self isolate if you have any of the following symptoms;
New continuous cough
A temperature of 37.8 or above
A loss/change of sense of smell or taste
‘Our aim is to provide the best possible health care for you and your family.’ Our practice is classified as semi-rural, based in a purpose built health centre in the heart of the community in Holmes Chapel.
We have a growing practice population, currently around 12,300 patients, served by an extended Primary Health Care Team including doctors, practice and community nurses, reception staff, physiotherapists and health visitors. We are part of the Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group .
Our aims here at Holmes Chapel Health Centre remain:
Safe, Effective Care for our Patients.
Remaining resilient in terms of our staffing to be able to remain open and provide our services.
We are in a unique period of time: facing an uncertain challenge and we will do all we can to support our patients.
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(Site updated 21/01/2021)