Practice news – Jan 2021

Archive news for general practice staff, January 2021

26 JANUARY 2021

vaccine update – Gratitude & Progress

As at Saturday 16th January we have vaccinated 15,629 patients at our two Local Vaccination Centers, care homes, assisted living and housebound program. Data from Collaborative Newcastle indicates that 84% of over 80s have received a first dose (9718 people) and that only a very small number of elderly in care homes remain to be vaccinated.

This would not have been possible without the collaborative effort between many organisations in the city but particularly NGPS, the CDs, the CCG and of course member practices. We wanted to make a special shout out to our Newcastle Place CCG colleagues who have tackled problems with enthusiasm, worked tirelessly on site and had difficult conversations on our behalf. It’s been a pleasure to work as one team.

Our small team has also been augmented over recent weeks by the gardening, store and librarian teams from the Local Authority who have been providing rota, data input and onsite support and last week seven firefighters from Tyne & Wear Rescue Service came for a training session! Our call for support has been heard and we have been left, once again, feeling overwhelmed by our community.

As you know, vaccine supply has been inconsistent and unpredictable and we would like to extend our thanks again to all our practices for your unwavering support. We recognise the pressure that creating lists and responding to queries puts on practices, particularly when this occurs at short notice. A special thank you to all of you who have been passing on the positive feedback from patients which has provided regular injections (!) of motivation (and a few tears) for all of us during the long hours.

We are delighted with our progress and feel we are achieving the principles we set out in our initial offer to you:

  • To collaborate with the wider system
  • To protect an already exhausted and depleted practice workforce
  • To protect practice finances – ensuring practices are paid for any input but that this input is optional. No practice will make a loss
  • To be able to flex the model given the high degree of unknowns without affecting day to day practice work

This week (w/c 25th January)

In order to vaccinate cohorts 1 -4 by 15th February we have calculated that we need to deliver around nine thousand vaccines a week for the next 3 weeks at our two sites. We can only do this if we get the supply. For the first time we have a large delivery allowing us to plan significant clinics this week:

Practices Lists (Cohorts 1-4)Practices Lists (Cohorts 1-4)Social Care List generated by LAPractices Lists (Cohorts 1-4)Social Care List generated by LA
9 am – 4 pm9 am – 4 pm9 am – 3 pm10 am – 4 pm9 am – 3 pm

Annie sent the practice list requests out on Thursday last week – please notify us if you are having any trouble filling these lists as soon as possible and get your lists through to us no later than midday the day before the clinic. It’s really hard for us to manage late lists and can be upsetting for the patients on site. Remember the letter distributed last week allowing us to move to cohorts 1-4.

We will try to avoid it but if the Local Authority are unable to fill the social care lists again we may need to come to you to assist with the lists on 29th and 31st. We will seek to always give you as much notice as possible and not apply unnecessary pressure.

Launch of Rotify

Our workforce database now tops 1,200 people. Our small rota team have done the most incredible job staffing our sites (including finding a workforce of 180 people to do the first double day the Eagles last week – 2,320 patients in 6 hours) but our inbox is bursting. In response to this we have launched a new online rota managment system called Rotify where staff and volunteers can search for and book shifts themselves, reducing the pressure on our team and making our workforce recruitment much more efficient for everyone. This has enabled us to nearly fill this week’s rotas in around 4 days. If you are working on our sites, please use this new system. If you haven’t yet had an account set up or have sent us an e-mail we will get to you – please bear with us.

Movement of AZ to practices

You may have seen the letters from NHSE regarding the movement of AZ and, in line with our last principle outlined above, we are keen to devise a way to get vaccines to any practice that wishes to deliver direct to their patients. For those of you who have read the letters you will have seen there are some complex logistical challenges:

  • Deliveries will still go to Eagles and Racecourse – only AZ can be moved in this way and we usually get around 4 working days’ notice of deliveries (this is the point we also find out what vaccine we are getting and in what quantity).
  • The cold chain must be maintained in travel using fancy “regulation” cool boxes (we have 9 of these at the moment which the care home and house bound team are also using) – we are planning a delivery service.
  • We must ensure equity of distribution between practices/patients and some practices may not be in a position to participate due to challenges of space (AZ still needs 15 mins observation for drivers).
  • Once moved to a practice – only allowed in your fridge for 24 hours max and all vials to be used once punctured after 6 hours.
  • Pinnacle must be used by practice teams to record all vaccines to ensure payment by any practice delivering them.
  • CDs and NGPS retain risk/liability – we need to be sure all SOPs (including the SVS SOPs) are being followed by any participating practices (this includes adherence to training requirements by staff)

With this in mind we would ask that practice familiarise themselves with all the documents on our website at (password V@cc1ne) including:

  • Community SOP
  • SVS Sops
  • Training requirements

Having read the guidelines, any practice who wishes to participate – please e mail by COP Friday 29th January with:

  • How many vaccines would you be able to deliver per week (assuming start w/c 15th Feb).
  • A brief description of how you will deliver the vaccines including proposed days/times and whether there is any flexibility so we can work out delivery schedules.
  • The names of the administrators who would be inputting the data onto Pinnacle so we can build a database to get them set up.

We anticipate that each practice will need to give assurance to their CD prior to starting to cover off the final bullet point above re accountability but will provide support to enable this.

A final note that we have experienced a huge degree of unpredictability in this program so far  – we absolutely want to get these vaccines out to practices but can’t control supply or regulations so please work with us to overcome these challenges.

GP positive comms campaign

The GP campaign that we are planning to launch in the next few weeks has moved on and we have now seen the designs developed for us by the agency. Thanks again to those practice staff who fed back the challenges they are currently facing from patients; this was incredibly useful and was used by the design agency to develop their first designs. The next step is for us to agree the messages we want to convey to our residents; this will be done in collaboration with PCN CDs.

UTC Update

The East UTC at Molineux opened on Monday 18th January 2021 with a GP on site from 0800 – 2200hrs for F2F and TT support. Significant work has gone into getting this service up as rapidly as possible given the demands of the covid vaccination programme and the delivery of hot services across the city.

There remain some concerns around ANP staffing at the UTC sites, due to competing demands, which result in ANPs working 0800 – 2000hrs only. The net result of this is that GPs working the last couple of hours at the UTC sites will have support from Reception staff only between 2000hrs and 2200hrs. We will be reviewing this on a regular basis.

As a result of a review into Extended Access and Telephone Triage usage, a number of changes have been made to simplify the booking process and improve availability and utilisation of slots.

These changes came into place on 7th December 2020 and included:

  • Removal of ED slots from the extended access ledgers, turning these appointments into GP slots for practices to book.
  • Release of 8-10am GP slots the previous day at 4pm for practices to book into (2 of these slots will still be reserved for the triage GP the night before).
  • On the day embargoes released earlier – 10-4pm now released at 8am and 4-8pm now released at 2pm.
  • Continuance of telephone triage slots as part of extended access, however these will be moved onto the telephone triage ledger and blocked on the extended access ledger. (4x 111 slots removed to accommodate this).
  • Removal of ledgers not relevant to practices, including: ENT, plastics and ultrasound.
  • Widening of clinical parameters for face-to-face GP slots, to include mild to moderate mental health and work ongoing to unpick under 12yrs (currently agreed in line with CCG PEP).

UTC Summary

In December 2020, utilisation of face-to-face slots has increased across Extended Access and Nurse Practitioner services. Usage of Telephone Triage and NEAS 111 slots has slightly reduced, however remains consistent with October 2020 figures.

Newcastle Hot sites

Of the two services being delivered by NGPS, the visiting service is in most demand operating at between 60 and 80% capacity on a daily basis. We have an escalation plan in place to respond to increased demand and work closely with the CCG to monitor and respond to this.

The hot site remains relatively quiet with 20- 40% demand.

19 JANUARY 2021

Vaccination programme update

We have now vaccinated over 10,000 people across Newcastle at our community vaccination sites at the Racecourse and the Eagles, and at care homes in the city. All eligible care home residents and the majority of staff have received the vaccine. 

Our next scheduled sessions will be released soon, once we know our vaccine supply.

In the next week we are hoping to launch our online rota management system to enable both staff (clinical and non-clinical) and volunteers who want to work at a site to book on shifts. Further details will be sent to you in the next few days.

A massive thank you again to our Newcastle Council colleagues who have been helping us both recruit people for shifts, but also with our rota management.

Practice Covid webinar – Thursday 21 January 

We will be holding another 30minute lunchtime webinar this week, Thursday 21 January, 1-1.30pm to give you an update on vaccination plans, and for you to ask any questions you may have. Each week we will have a least one Clinical Director, and one of the NGPS team, hosting the meeting. You can join the meeting from the following link (  

12 January 2021

Vaccination programme update

A fantastic effort from a huge number of people last week meant that we manage to vaccinate a further 2,000 people. This included vaccinating at 49 of the 54 care homes in the PCN DES. The final 5 we could not carry out vaccinations in because of outbreaks, but we are planning to complete these vaccinations as soon as we are able. We are also scheduling vaccinations for the remaining care homes and services not including in the PCN DES. We have made a local decision to go into homes regardless of age. We also ran an additional vaccination session on Saturday 9 January, which was established and staffed in a matter of days. We have now delivered over 5000 vaccines.

Please note that we had our first AZ delivery this week which, as per guidance we have reserved for the remaining care homes and housebound population.

We are very proud to have heard at the weekend that our region is the top performing across the country in terms of delivering the vaccine. This is as a result of the combined efforts of many people and again we thank everyone who has played their part.

We are expecting our vaccination effort to be ramped up in the coming weeks and are working on scaling our current processes to enable this. 

Our next scheduled vaccination sessions are as follows:

  • Newcastle Racecourse – 12th and 16th January
  • Eagles Basketball Centre – 13th, 15th and 22nd January

As at writing, we have had no further supplies of vaccines booked beyond this date, but expect our dates next week to be confirmed in the next few days. We will, of course, let you know as soon as we have firmer plans.

Please note: we still need completed patient lists for vaccinations on 15th and 16th of January. Any questions on this, please contact Annie Walton on

We would like to extend our thanks to Newcastle City Council who will be helping us as we expand our vaccination efforts, with additional resources from teams across the council being deployed. This is yet another great example of Collaborative Newcastle in action, and how we can come together as one citywide team for the good of all our communities.

2nd vaccination doses

We want to clarify the local position on second vaccine doses, following questions from some practices. All patients – and health care staff – who received their first dose of vaccine will be getting their second vaccine 12 weeks later; this was confirmed in the letter sent from NHSE on 11 January which states:

“The statement from the four UK Chief Medical Officers clearly sets out the rationale for prioritising first dose vaccination: vaccinating twice the number of people in the next 2-3 months is preferable in public health terms to vaccinating half the number with only slightly greater individual protection”

The short-term vaccine efficacy from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is calculated at around 90% and around 70% for Oxford AstraZeneca, with high protection against severe disease. More information can be found in the PHE report to JCVI here.

Please note: if patients attend any of our vaccination sites for their second dose they will not receive this, and will be turned away.

We are aware that guidance could well change again if further evidence comes to light, and we will keep a careful eye on any updates to the situation.

Clarification regarding the letter that has been sent to thousands of over eighties inviting them to book their vaccination at the Centre for Life 

As you are probably aware, letters have been sent to people aged 80 or over who have not yet received a vaccination and live 30 to 45 minutes drive from the Centre for Life, which opened as a mass vaccination site this week. This letter explains how they can book a slot – over the phone or online through the national booking service. The online booking service is available via this link.  Examples of the letters can be found on FutureNHS.

As outlined in the NHSE bulletin this week these letters are only being sent to patients who have not received the vaccine, although we are aware that there may be some overlap. Information on which patients have not been vaccinated is drawn from GP records so it is important that you keep these as up to date as possible. If an overlap does occur and you have already booked in a patient at one of our PCN community vaccine sites at Eagles or Racecourse, please let your patient know they can disregard the letter.

Housebound and assisted living vaccinations

Thank you to practice teams getting housebound lists in to enable us to start vaccinating those patients unable to come to our vaccination sites.

The team are looking at vaccinating residents at five assisted living venues this week, run by the District Nursing team and coordinated by the PCN Clinical Director Dr Guy Clements, and we are also hopefully starting a housebound vaccination programme on Friday.

Both programmes will be using the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. As we need to wait 15 minutes with each patient the numbers manageable in a shift are limited and we may need some further input from primary care to support this programme; we are just waiting on some further data to be able to establish the workload we need.

Practice Covid webinar

We will be holding a 30minute lunchtime webinar this week, Thursday 14 January, 1-1.30pm to give you an update on vaccination plans, and for you to ask any questions you may have. Each week we will have a least one Clinical Director, and one of the NGPS team, hosting the meeting. You can join the meeting from the following link (

BAME Covid vaccine engagement

We are working with Newcastle Council’s BAME Community Champions and other voluntary and community groups in the city to look at how we can effectively engage with BAME communities in the city. Our first meeting with the Community Champions is on Thursday this week, where we will be answering questions they have about the vaccine, and understanding the best ways to communicate vaccine messages. If you have any questions on this work, please speak to either Emily Fisher on or Kate Vogelsang on at NGPS.

Urgent treatment centre (UTC)

The hot visiting service has now moved to relocate with the specialist care home team in the former “falcon” site at the Molineux Building. We will continue to deliver this service in conjunction with colleagues from NuTH as before.

As a result of this move we can confirm that the East UTC will relocate back to the Molineux centre and will be offering F2F and telephone triage GP appointments from 0800 – 2200hrs, 7 days a week. Please note that current staff shortages mean that ANP appointments at all centres will stop at 2000hrs, but it is not envisaged that this will impact significantly on practices.

ANP cover at Westgate will run from 1000 – 2000hrs only.

5 january 2021

Vaccination dates – please send us new patient lists for 13 and 22 January 

We will be delivering vaccines on 9, 13 and 22 January. Details of the session on the 9th are below. The sessions on 13th and 22nd were originally scheduled to be the second dose for your first cohort; following national direction we are now asking you to cancel those second dose appointments and rebook to different patients for those dates. Please note also that the session on the 22nd was originally scheduled for the 20th; this date has changed. The Pfizer vaccine will be used for all three vaccination dates. The current intention is to reserve the small supply of Astra Zeneca vaccines (when received) for the housebound. We will provide more details when these become clearer. 

All care home residents to be vaccinated this week 

We are now expecting a further 2000 vaccine doses to be delivered on Weds this week. These will be used to vaccinate all care home residents in Newcastle, from Wednesday onwards. It remains our aspiration to complete the vaccination of all Care Home residents in Newcastle by Saturday 9th January 2020.  
Additional vaccination session on 9 January – please send us your patient lists 
The remaining vaccine doses from that batch of 2000 will be used to vaccinate a new cohort of patients at an additional vaccination session at Newcastle Racecourse on Saturday 9 January between 8am and 2pm. As noted in our email yesterday, please send us your patient lists for this session by Thursday 7th January 2020. 

For more information on supplying us with the lists of patients to be vaccinated on 9, 13 and 22 January, please contact Annie Walton on  

Thank you to everyone who has worked at our vaccine sites. The response from so many people – both general practice staff, but also people from other areas of the NHS and volunteers – has been phenomenal. With your help we vaccinated more than 2000 people in just over a week at the Eagles and Racecourse sites. We have reviewed how both sessions went with PCN Clinical Directors and, whilst both sessions were hugely successful, we have learnt valuable lessons for future vaccination sessions. 

Do you have a question on the Covid vaccinations? 

This is an everchanging situation, dependant on many partners and other organisations. If there are updates we will let you know as soon as we hear anything but you can contact us anytime on or ask your CD who is being briefed daily.  You can also find information about our sites on our website at (password V@cc1ne)