Frustration as patients miss vaccination appointments in Derbyshire

A GP surgery in Derbyshire has confirmed that people have been missing appointments to have their Covid-19 vaccination.

Vulnerable people and those on a priority list living in the Derbyshire Dales had their first Pfizer injection last week when a number of “vaccination clinics” were held at St Oswald’s Hospital, in Ashbourne.

The first clinics in the area were held on January 6, 7 and 8, as part of the huge national roll-out and more are taking place this week.

People aged 80-years-old and over were invited by their GP to have the vaccine over the three days at St Oswald’s Hospital.

This was mainly for patients at either Hannage Brook Medical Centre in Wirksworth or in other GP surgeries including Brailsford and Ashbourne.

Advice and help was given over transport arrangements, if required, for people to get to appointments as they were only taking place at the hospital.

However, Hannage Brook Medical Centre revealed its frustration after 11 people failed to attend their appointment – although it is not know if all the patients were from that centre.

As staff did not want to waste any of the vaccine doses, they were then having to work much longer and find patients willing to have the vaccine at short notice – it was revealed.

A statement from Hannage Brook Medical Centre, based in Wirksworth, said: “We had 11 patients DNA (did not attend) our COVID vaccine clinic at St Oswald’s.

“11 people, whose vaccine the staff running the clinic and myself (Dr Penny Blackwell) had to stay around until 8.30pm last night, trying to give to anyone who would have it (because we’re not going to waste a drop).

“Multiple phone calls and a late night after a 12-hour day.”

With more vaccinations happening at the same hospital this week, a reserve list of people willing to have the injection has been set up should future missed appointments arise.

A Derby and Derbyshire Clinical Commission Group spokesperson confirmed there was an issue with DNAs (Did Not Attend) on the first day, but the situation has since improved.

He said: “On the first day of Covid-19 vaccinations in St Oswald’s Hospital in Ashbourne, a number of patients did not attend their booked appointment.

“This caused some delays and led to extra work for staff to ensure no vaccines were wasted. Thankfully, this problem does not seem to have persisted and attendance rates since then have been excellent.

“It is important that patients receive their vaccination, but we also recognise that patients may not be able to attend a booked appointment.

“If you cannot attend, please either check your appointment letter for details on how to cancel and re-book, or contact your GP practice if you have made the original booking by phone.

“These vaccines are precious and must be used within a certain period, so appointments are planned to avoid any wastage.

“If a patient does not attend their appointment, staff will do their best to ensure the vaccination is not wasted. This includes creating reserve lists of patients who can be called in early for their forthcoming appointments at short notice.”

The reaction to the missed appointments has been met with shock by those who saw the GP statement on social media.

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One person said: “They may have had valid reasons for not attending, but there’s no excuse for not letting you know. You’re all working hard enough without having to deal with this on top.”

And another commented: “Why would you not turn up its so wrong, I can’t wait for mine.”

Derbyshire Live has contacted the surgery for more information.

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