Covid Booster Vaccines Update

In light of Boris Johnson’s announcement yesterday regarding the acceleration of the booster campaign, we would like to update you on where we are at locally, and how you can access your vaccination when it is due.

As a practice, and with our neighbouring practice colleagues, we have worked hard since last January to provide vaccinations locally for as many of our patients as possible. We believe that this is vital work to protect our patients from serious Covid infection, and have been hugely encouraged by high uptake rates, and in particular by seeing the rates of serious infection plummet in our vaccinated population from where we were at this time last year. For this reason, we have continued to play our part in the vaccine programme as we recognise the difficulties that many of our patients have in travelling further a field to vaccine centres.

We heard the announcement last night, and recognise the importance of this new push to boost vaccinations and boosters. We have for some time been running weekly covid vaccine clinics in the practice in addition to our normal GP work, to vaccinate people as and when they are due. This announcement means that a larger number of patients have suddenly become eligible. We are therefore currently working out how many additional clinics we can offer over the next couple of weeks before Christmas. This depends on staffing availability, as well as vaccine supply.

All adults aged 18 or over are now eligible for a booster 12 weeks after their second dose.

Please note, if you have not yet had your 1st or 2nd vaccine dose, and would now like to, it is not too late. You can still book into any of our clinics. If you have not received an invitation then please submit a Ask the Practice a Question form to us via our website.

The 2nd dose is due 8 weeks after your 1st dose (12 weeks for 16 and 17 year olds).

We are running frequent searches of patient records which alert us as soon as your vaccine is due. When you are eligible for a vaccine you will be sent a text message with a simple link for you to book your appointment. Please wait for this rather than contacting the surgery. As you can imagine, we are extremely busy currently.

If you have a question which is not answered by this update, please submit a Ask Reception a Question form via our website rather than phoning, as this allows our staff to respond at times when they are able to, and leaves the phone lines free for unwell patients to contact us.

Christmas Opening Hours and Arrangements

This time of year is always a particularly busy and challenging time for us in the practice. The usual combination of winter bugs resulting in increased appointment demand, staff absence due to illness from those same bugs, and leave for well earned breaks, holiday prescription requests and many other factors, mean that we are always particularly stretched.

This year of course is likely to be even worse than usual due to all the above usual reasons combined with rising levels of Covid infections in our community and our commitment to helping with the vaccine booster programme.

It would therefore be very much appreciated if you could do all you can to help us ensure that we can continue to provide the best possible care to our patients who most need us. We, in turn, will be doing our very best for you all. Help us to help you!!

We will be open 08:00 – 16:00 on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. From 16:00 on these days we will transfer our telephone lines to our local out of hours GP service operated by DHU 111. We will operate normal opening hours 29th and 30th December, 08:00-18:30.

Over the last couple of years we have seen a greater demand for appointments in the days prior to bank holidays and lower demand on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, particularly in the afternoons. Therefore we will be providing more capacity and appointments at the beginning of the weeks leading up to Christmas and New Year. We have been advised to make the majority of our appointment slots ‘urgent book on the day only’ appointments. This means that we will not be able to offer appointments for routine problems or reviews until after the New Year. Please think carefully before requesting an appointment about whether it is truly urgent, or whether you can wait until the New Year.

Our top tips for a healthy and happy Christmas:

  • Please order any repeat prescriptions you require in time to ensure you have adequate provision over the Christmas and New Year period
  • Be prepared for common health problems by keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home. Speak to your pharmacist if you’re not sure what you need.
  • Use NHS 111 if you need medical help but it’s not an emergency. NHS 111 offers an online service at or you can call them by dialling 111
  • Get your flu and COVID-19 vaccinations if eligible

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we would like to thank you for all your support and understanding through what has been another difficult year. We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our patients and your families a very Happy and Peaceful Christmas and New Year, and best wishes for 2022.

The Arden House Medical Practice Team.