Covid-19 Vaccination - Patient Testimonials

We have received an overwheming number of comments and messages from patients following our first wave of Covid-19 Vaccinations. Most of which have offered a great amount of support and encouragement to the practice and our staff, for which we are most grateful.

We have shared some of the kind words that have been sent to us below.

Our first wave of vaccination did not come without issues. Problems that arose were quickly identified, reviewed, and measures were put in place.

We feel it is important to share the feedback we had below and the response we gave in return, in hope that it alleviates any concerns had by our patient community.

From Mr E

‘Attn Dr Annis,

Yet again I am unable to access the internal mail system. I wanted you and your fellow partners to be aware of the complete chaos of the initial day of vaccine at the Phoenix Centre.

When I arrived for a 1pm appointment there was a line of 80 odd people waiting. Not all were patients as most had their carers with them. It was supposed to be for 80 year olds.

After waiting for 30 minutes I moved up three places in the line. The lady next to me went to her car and left her carer in the line. The lady behind was in considerable discomfort with a bad knee. To leave all these 80 year olds in this situation was a total disgrace.

My neighbour is the boss of Mirador TV and I thought of calling him to record the situation. However after speaking to the only Foundry member present ( a young lady) I decided not to and rebooked my appointment.

I would appreciate your comments.’​

Our Response

‘Dear Mr E,

Thank you for your email to Dr Annis regarding our first mass Covid-19 vaccination clinic at Foundry Healthcare last week.

We were very pleased to be one of only three sites in East Sussex to offer the vaccination to our vulnerable patients. However it was a huge undertaking and we were given just one week’s notice of the day when the vaccine would be delivered.  We had no control over the delivery date.

As you will be aware the vaccine is very new and is currently rather impractical to administer.  It takes two staff approximately 15-20 minutes to prepare 5 doses of it.  Once delivered to the surgery it has a very short shelf life and so we had to administer 975 doses in just three days.

We had just a few days to phone 900 patients aged 80 years and over to offer them the vaccine and our team of receptionists worked tirelessly over the weekend, at very sort notice, to achieve this.

Each of those patients who attended the clinic had to be seen by a clinician and carefully assessed to ensure they were suitable to receive the vaccine and then booked in onto our computer system.

Patients were then required to wait for 15 minutes after receiving the vaccine, in a safely distanced area.  Many had their carers with them, which of course added to the number of people waiting.

At this point we were not able to offer carers the vaccination.

Conscious of the needs of our elderly population, who would be attending the surgery on these three days, we rather ambitiously hoped to do all of this before it became dark. However on the first day, the day when you attended, it became clear that the process was taking longer than anticipated and unfortunately patients did have considerable delays. This was particularly unfortunate as in order to keep everyone safely distanced people had to wait outside of the building.

When we were made aware that the vaccine was available a couple of weeks earlier, we approached The Phoenix Centre to ask for use of their facility so that patients did not have to be outside but they were unable to help us. We hope they will review this decision for patients coming in January for their second vaccination.

All of these factors contributed to an unacceptable delay, and our staff, who had all worked so very hard all week and into the weekend, were very disappointed that their plans had not quite come to fruition.

However, despite a long and tiring day, the Manager, Doctors and Nurses stayed working very late Wednesday evening to refine the process and the following morning a team of receptionists called patients booked for the next two days to move some of their appointments to later in the day and at 6am on Thursday morning a second marquee was erected.

We are very pleased that during the next two days, we undertook more vaccines and finished much earlier on those days and patients experienced very little delay.

We have received so many ‘Thank yous’ from patients who are very grateful that we were able to provide the vaccine locally, rather than having to wait to attend a mass vaccination site in Brighton.

We are just so very sorry your experience on the first day was not as good.  It was definitely a learning experience for us and we did everything we could to improve the experience for future clinics.’

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