South Holland District Council leader cannot reassure the public over coronavirus vaccination plan for area
District council leader Gary Porter is worried a plan todeliver sites for the coronavirus vaccination could be a ‘Baldrick’ one.
Coun Porter says he is unable to give any reassurance to residents that the NHS ‘has a grip’ on earmarking a site in South Holland after they failed to produce a plan to the Local Outbreak Board meeting on Wednesday.
Referencing the witless servant Baldrick from TV’s Blackadder, Coun Porter said: “I can’t reassure the public. They have told me that they have a plan but I have no idea if it is a good plan or a ‘Baldrick’ plan.
Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group says it has been working on its vaccination plans but failed to answer our questions on if there is a plan for a vaccination site in South Holland and when it is likely to start.
It says that it is unable to confirm exact vaccination sites until its “vaccination delivery models are stood up over the coming days and weeks”.
Meanwhile, over the border in Fenland, a vaccination site has been set-up at a Wisbech surgery while in Lincolnshire others have been running in Grantham and Louth.
On Monday, Littlebury Medical Centre in Holbeach asked patients to stop calling up to book a jab after its phone lines were blocked and added: “We have not had any vaccines delivered and no date for delivery.”
Coun Porter added: “I struggle to see how the national part of the NHS thinks it is acceptable or productive to restrict the information we are able to get, even at that local level, even if we were getting it in confidence so that I could reassure people that I have seen the plan.
“The bits I do know are not good from a South Holland perspective. I know sites are operational in other parts of the county but I am not aware of any operational sites in South Holland or any plans for operational sites to be working in South Holland.
“They did reassure me that the plan does include all parts of the county but we can’t have people in South Holland having to travel.I work on the basis that if you have something you are proud of, you are pleased to show it off.”
Coun Porter said he had nothing but respect for the local officers but fears that South Holland is being ‘mugged off’.
He said: “It is not the local people that are choosing to play ‘Secret Squirrel’.
During Wednesday's debate in the House of Commons, Sir John Hayes asked Prime Minister Boris Johnson to reassure people in South Holland that local doctors surgeries will be equppied and supplied to vaccinate the vulunerable ‘sooner rather than later’.
In response the Prime Minister said: “It is our intention Mr Speaker that doctors surgeries will play a crucial part in the vaccination programme.”
Speaking after the question Sir John said he will be raising the issue with the health authority during his next meeting.
He said: “Having now raised it nationally with the PM we are getting his reassurance and I will make that point emphatically to the health authority.”
A spokesman for the clinical commissioning group said: “Following the announcement that the Oxford University/ AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine has been approved, the NHS in Lincolnshire is pleased to be working with colleagues across the county to ensure increased availability of the COVID-19 vaccine at the earliest opportunity.
“We are delighted that once again Lincolnshire is amongst the first in the country to be offering this vaccination, as we were with the Pfizer vaccine through both the county’s hospital hub and Primary Care Networks.We are currently planning on increasing the number of locations for vaccinations over the coming weeks.
“We are continuing to work hard to expand the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccination programme across Lincolnshire as quickly and as safely as possible. Please be assured you will be contacted when it is your turn to be vaccinated.In the meantime please be patient, there is no need for you to contact your practice.”