COVID HUB: New covid hub ruled out in East Cleveland
Plans for a potential new covid-19 vaccination ‘hub’ in east Cleveland have been shelved, the Local Democracy Reporting Service has learnt.
Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland MP Simon Clarke and Councillor Mary Lanigan, leader of Redcar and Cleveland Council, had been in talks with health officials after concerns about the distance residents in the furthermost reaches of the borough were having to travel to receive jabs.
But sufficient capacity has been provided through individual GP surgeries to the local population, including those in care homes and the housebound, to deem such a move unnecessary.
In the early stages of the vaccine roll-out Guisborough’s The Garth surgery was the main location for vaccination appointments with Cllr Lanigan stating it was unrealistic for elderly and vulnerable people in outlying towns and villages to travel there in the worst of the winter weather.
Karen Hawkins, director of commissioning and strategy at the Tees Valley Clinical Commissioning Group, explained: “The covid-19 vaccination programme is being delivered by primary care networks – groups of GP practices working together across the Tees Valley from designated locations.
“They now have access to different vaccine types, one of which is easier to deploy and handle.
“This has enabled vaccines to be delivered from GP practice sites in east Cleveland to those in care homes and the housebound where it is considered that this will improve patient access due to rurality.
“The need for an additional site in east Cleveland has therefore not been necessary as the primary care network has been able to deliver the cohort requirements as outlined by NHS England and NHS Improvement.”
Mr Clarke said: “Ensuring a rapid roll-out of vaccinations in east Cleveland has been a priority and a number of solutions have been proposed – one being the possibility of an additional vaccination site.
“This has not proved necessary as both The Garth Surgery in Guisborough and other local surgeries throughout the region have provided the necessary capacity for vaccinations in east Cleveland.
“The UK vaccine effort is a world-leading achievement and one of which our whole country should be very proud.
“The North-East has led the way in the vaccination drive – something the Prime Minister highlighted on Saturday when he said we had ‘shot the lights out’.
“Every area of the country continues to receive its fair share of vaccines and all have the capacity to enable us to reach everyone whose turn it is to receive this life-saving medicine.”
Words: Stuart Arnold, Local Democracy Reporter
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