Theresa May, local MP for Maidenhead, has visited a local drive-through flu clinic in her constituency to see it in operation and to meet NHS staff.
Mrs May visited the drive-through clinic at Maidenhead Magnet Leisure Centre car park on Friday 10 October, where she spoke with local GPs and healthcare professionals about the importance of getting the flu vaccine as the NHS is set to offer a record number this year.
Theresa May said: “I want to say thank you to all the staff at the drive through centre for an informative and productive visit.
“This year especially it is so important that as many people as possible get flu jabs.
“The joint challenge of seasonal flu and coronavirus will take its toll and make this period exceptionally tough. I am therefore urging everyone who is eligible across the Maidenhead constituency to take advantage of this offer to protect yourself and get a flu jab”.
The drive through service at the Magnet Leisure Centre is available to all registered patients who are eligible at Claremont & Holyport Surgery, Cookham Medical Centre, Redwood House Surgery and The Cedars Surgery.
The drive through will remain in place until 23 October 2020.The service allows patients to be safely vaccinated in the comfort of their own car.
There is a similar drive-through clinic in Windsor for patients. The drive-through clinic is located at Windsor Racecourse and is available to all registered patients who are eligible at Clarence Medical Centre, Sheet Street Surgery and South Meadow Surgery. The drive through will operate until 23 October 2020.
Together they have capacity to vaccinate more than 1,000 people per day.
All appointments are pre-booked in advance by practices.
Patient feedback has been positive. A patient at the drive through in Maidenhead said:
“My mum and I have just been for our drive through flu vaccinations and I wanted to say thank you to all the staff and volunteers providing the efficient and effective service - especially on a cold and wet day.
“The nurse was very sweet and explained about the flu jab as I hadn't had it before and checked I was okay as I said I didn't like needles”.
In addition to the drive-through clinics, the GP practices are also running in-house sessions as well as in community venues. Details can be found on practice websites.
Other practices across Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead are running their flu vaccinations from their usual premises. All appointments are pre-booked in advance by GP practices.
Dr Huw Thomas, GP and Interim Place based Clinical Lead for RBWM for the Frimley Collaborative, said: “Since March this year, all health and care services have had to adapt the way in which they work in light of coronavirus and public safety. This is why we are excited to be able to offer a drive-through clinic for our patients. By being able to drive to a convenient local location and remain in your car, will ensure that we can administer the flu vaccination in the safest possible way.
“Whilst we’re encouraging all our eligible patients to either drive or be driven to our drive-through clinic, we understand that this may not be possible for some people. Please call your GP surgery to discuss your circumstances and we will ensure that you will have access to a flu vaccination.”
The number of people eligible to receive the flu vaccine on the NHS this year has increased, with the vaccine being rolled out in various stages for different cohorts. Those in at risk groups will take priority.
People aged between 50 and 64 who are not in a clinical at-risk group may be offered a free flu vaccination later in the year, providing there is enough vaccine available. Please note that practices are not pre-booking appointments for this cohort at this time. They will contact you as soon as they are ready to offer you an appointment so please wait to hear from them or to receive more information. This is to ensure that those who are most at risk are vaccinated first. Thank you in advance for your patience, understanding and cooperation.
If you are aged 50 to 64 and are in a clinical at risk group which is eligible for the flu vaccination, for example you have a health condition which puts you at risk from the flu, please contact your GP practice for more information or visit your local community pharmacy.