The Kennet and Avon Medical Partnership would like to extend huge thanks to the KAMP staff, patients and wonderful volunteers who braved the snow at the weekend to attend the Covid-19 vaccine clinics at Pewsey Surgery. A fantastic community effort enabled the clinics to go ahead and a staggering 1170 vaccines were delivered to the over 75s and frontline health and social care staff in just three days. Ann Hogg, Pewsey Councillor co-ordinated dozens of volunteers to clear a safe path for patients through the snow and to help over all three days. Carol Parsons and the Pewsey Carnival provided gazebos to shelter waiting patients and delivered floodlights borrowed from Pewsey Youth Football Club. The Little Lunchbox in Pewsey provided coffee and sandwiches to keep the volunteers warm. Patients and staff alike brought sandwiches, biscuits, cakes and chocolates to keep the staff going! Many KAMP staff gave up their weekend (for the second weekend running) to man the clinics, special commendation goes to the 20 staff who made it through the snow on Sunday! We are very grateful to all the patients who have sent thank you messages and cards (and more chocolates and biscuits!).
It was therefore disheartening to read the critical comments in the letter “Why use Pewsey?” by Cllr Stuart Dobson published on Marlborough News Online. Cllr Dobson questions why Pewsey Surgery was chosen over the Marlborough Town Hall or the old youth centre, venues which he considers would have been more suitable venues for the Covid-19 vaccination clinics. Very simply, KAMP made the decision that a medical setting (our own surgery) was far more suitable for a novel vaccine to be administered to the vulnerable and elderly. KAMP is committed to rolling out the community vaccine programme as quickly, safely and locally as possible and the use of our own surgery enabled us to do that whilst minimising disruption to the usual services we provide to patients. The Town Hall cannot provide sufficient parking close by or a safe drop-off point for more elderly people. As the vaccine rolls out to younger patient groups, KAMP, in conjunction with our PCN colleagues, may well seek other venues.
Why, asks Cllr Dobson did KAMP invite vulnerable residents by mobile phone or computer? This was indeed true for the first vaccination clinic; KAMP had 3 days’ notice of the delivery date for our first batch of the vaccine. We chose to invite those we could reach immediately ie by text or email rather than see any vaccine go unused. It should be noted that this clinic was hosted at Ramsbury surgery and patients from all four local practices were able to attend. The remaining 1000 or so KAMP patients over 80s were invited to the very next vaccination clinic, by telephone.
We are delighted by the support of so many councillors, many of whom have volunteers at our clinics, and so feel that Cllr Dobson’s views are not wholly representative.
Suzy Deering, Communications Officer, KAMP