Flu and Covid – Update

All General Practices have recently received updated guidance from NHS England regarding Flu and Covid vaccines being administered together from October 2023 and have been asked where possible to arrange for Flu and Covid vaccines to be administered at the same time (subject to patient consent). However, as Covid vaccines will not arrive until early October, our usual main flu clinic in September will still go ahead as planned, but this will be for the flu vaccine only. We will then make contact with those booked in for the flu only clinic on 23rd September, to attend the surgery on a later date in October for your Covid vaccine, as long as you are eligible.

Main Flu Clinic – 23rd September

Saturday 23rd September from 8am-4pm (we stop for lunch 12-12.30) at Whitton Sports Centre, Whitton Church Lane, IP1 6LW.

Clinic is for pre-booked appointments for the over 65s, the 18-64 at risk cohort and pregnant patients.

Although this is one of our busiest days of the year, the queues do go quickly, so please be patient and do not worry if your time has passed, as we will still see you as long as you arrive before 4pm.

Note that if you have been started on Antibiotics when your flu vaccination is due, you will not be able to have your flu vaccine, so please make sure you contact the practice to rearrange your appointment.

In the event you are poorly on the day of the main flu clinic and therefore unable to attend, please send an email to cardinal.medicalpractice@nhs.net, whereby someone will cancel your appointment and arrange to rebook once you are feeling fit and well.

SMS invites and URL bookable links

Eligible patients with a mobile number, will be sent an URL link that is valid for 7 days. To ensure the system can cope with the demand, the invites will be sent out staggered, so please do not be concerned if you have not received an invite just yet. The link will allow you to click on a drop down to show more clinic dates, please ensure you make a note of the time/date and location, as we also have clinics running from the Chesterfield Drive and Norwich Road sites, in addition to Whitton Sports Centre on 23rd September.

If for any reason your link has expired, or you have not been able to find a date/time you can attend, then you can call the surgery and press option 5 on the phones whereby you will go through to a voice message service where you can leave your name, date of birth and contact number and a member of our team will call you back. Where possible we call back the same day, if not will be the next working day. Alternatively you can also send a request via AskMyGP (whilst the system is open) and a member of our team will make contact either same day or next working day to book you an appointment.

Declining Flu and or Covid

If you wish to decline your flu vaccine, to prevent us contacting you again, please either click on the link to contact us via AskMyGP (whilst the system is open) or call 01473 741349 and leave a message by pressing option 5 and leaving your details, so we can update your record accordingly. Even if you have declined in previous years, we are still required to ask, in the event someone has changed their mind, which is within their wish to do.

Note if you are calling the practice and with to leave a message on our Flu and Covid line, after the initial welcome message you can press option 5 without waiting in the queue.

Mobile numbers

For patients who do not have a mobile number on their record, a member of our team will be making contact to invite you in accordingly. For anyone who has changed their mobile, or knows that there is no number on their record, you can update your AskMyGP profile accordingly.

Housebound patients

Housebound patients will be contacted from October onwards by one of our Care Coordinators to arrange a date for our nursing team to come out to administer Flu and Covid vaccines on the same date. Due to the number of housebound patients on our list, this can take 2-3 months for our dedicated team to come out to visit, so please bear with us whilst we plan visits in.

Every year we receive an influx of requests during the Flu Season to be recorded as housebound, remember this will only apply if you do not leave your home. If you attend the hairdressers, go shopping, visit friends and family, then you will not be classed as housebound and will need to attend the surgery for your vaccinations instead.

Unfortunately we had several instances of failed home visits last year where some of our patients had gone shopping or to the hairdressers. Please help us to manage by coming to the surgery as you will likely be seen quicker in practice than a home visit. We thank you for your understanding at this challenging time.

Covid vaccine

We have not yet received confirmation regarding what Covid vaccine will be available, however once this is known, please check our website for further information. Covid vaccines will only be available from October until 15th December 2023.

Child flu vaccine clinics

We will shortly be inviting children aged 2-3 and those who are in the at risk cohort up to the age of 18 via SMS message with a URL link. Note that school nursing team will still be vaccinating children from reception to year 6 and year 7-11 and your school will make contact regarding this nearer the time. However, if your child falls into an at risk group and you would prefer your child to be vaccinated at the surgery please do make contact with us, so we can book an appointment accordingly.

50-64 non-at risk cohort

NHS England have also confirmed that the seasonal flu vaccination will not be extended to the 50-64 non-at risk cohort, who have previously been invited during the last 3 seasons due to the Covid pandemic.

Nursing and HCA appointment availability

Finally as we are now coming into the seasonal Flu and Covid campaign, you may find there are less routine Practice Nurse and Health Care Assistant appointments, as we try to maximise on offering Flu and Covid vaccines to our vulnerable patients. Although a lot of the team do work extra to provide additional support during this season, inevitably some of our staff can also fall ill, which does knock onto appointments. We apologise in advance if you are impacted by this and thank you in advance whilst we look to reschedule your appointment.