Mass Covid Vaccination update and high volume telephone calls

All of our appointments at the moment are made via a telephone call to the surgery, this is necessary so that we can screen calls and direct none urgent queries to different healthcare professionals.

However the knock on effect is that the telephone lines are really very busy so please be patient we have additional staff working to help with the high volumes, but there are a few simple steps that you can do to help reduce the high volume.

How to help

If your planned call was concerning Covid appointments or any NON urgent queries, please use the alternative footfall site “to ask a question” on our website.

We are still getting a large number of calls regarding medication up to 50-100 calls a day! Please note we do not take medication requests over the telephone please call the NHS prescription ordering line 0300 421 1215 who can order your medication and send this to your nominated pharmacy.

Blood test results –please phone in the afternoon after 2pm for these.

Covid vaccines

The first age group who are in the process of being invited are for patients aged 80 years and over, we can empathise that there are younger age groups who are worried that they should be called now, however we are following the NHS England guidelines and this is just the beginning of a process and you will be vaccinated in due course, we are asking patients not to phone us, we can’t make this happen any quicker.

We would also like to apologise for any couples that have been split up and are having their appointments on different days/times. This was a human error due to hundreds of letters being printed, then given to the “hub team” to book the appointments and unfortunately the “pile of letters” was split between teams to action and this is where the error occurred as couples ended up with different teams. We have fed this back to the hub team who are booking the appointments and hopefully this error will not be ongoing!

Information that you will need to help

  • All of St Georges COVID appointments will be at the fire station in Cheltenham, our scheduled slot will be on a Monday this will be every Monday until further notice with a start time of 12-30-4.30. Our first clinic is the 4/1/21
  • Your invite letter will give you instructions on how to respond and accept your date & times
  • You must respond to your invite letter, if you can’t make the appointment time or date then please if you are texting/emailing –ensure that you have stated that you are declining the appointment date/time not the COVID vaccine –if you decline the vaccination then please make this obvious in your response back.
  • You must bring your letter with you to your appointment at the fire station.
  • You should be aware that whilst you can park in the Lido carpark there is a charge –fines for not paying are £100 we are unable to help you with any illegal parking fines!
  • If you have indicated that you can’t make that appointment there will be a “mop up clinic” we don’t have the details for how this will work, so if at all possible try to get to your appointments, please refer back to our website at a later date for more information.
  • This is a national screening programme, logistically this is a mammoth task and we have a huge amount of administration in-put, please know that we are working flat out to ensure the day to day, “normal flu’s and Covid vaccinations are manned by appropriate staff, this means that on occasion the staffing levels at the surgery will be reduced whilst we are working on the COVID clinics and vaccinating all of our care homes and nursing homes.
  • Housebound patients will be given the COVID vaccination by the community district nursing team –if you are housebound then by definition you will be at home when the nursing team call we have no times or dates for this.
  • Please do not turn up to the fire station without an appointment-you will be sent away!

Thank you for you cooperation with the above, I know there is a lot of information to digest, we hope this has answered some of your queries and thus will in turn alleviate the number of calls and concerns going forward coming into the practice.

Kind regards the St Georges Surgery team