Monthly Archives: December 2021

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People in Buckinghamshire urged to book their COVID-19 booster jab as vaccination capacity ramps up

Buckinghamshire’s COVID vaccination programme continues to ramp up its capacity this week, following the Prime Minister’s pledge to ensure every adult is offered a booster vaccine by the end of December in response to the Omicron variant.

New appointments are becoming available on the National Booking Service every day throughout the county (or by calling 119 if you can’t get online), so please keep trying to arrange yours.

You can book a booster dose if you are aged 18 years and over, or 16 and over with a health condition that puts you at high risk from COVID-19. Frontline health and social care workers should also get their booster jab as soon as possible too.

Pregnant women are also reminded that they should have the vaccine – whether it is the first, second or booster dose. Studies show that hospital admission and severe illness are more common in unvaccinated pregnant women (compared to those not pregnant). Pregnant women with underlying medical conditions are at higher risk of severe illness without vaccination.

Across the county vaccination capacity has increased by around 50% in recent days. These include the following vaccination sites in the locations listed below.

  • 15 Pharmacy Sites located across Chesham, Hughenden, Longridge, Buckingham, Wing, Iver, Haddenham, Aylesbury, Beaconsfield, Wycombe, Amersham
  • 10 Local Vaccination Sites – Burnham, Wycombe, Amersham, Chesham, Risborough, Stoke Mandeville, Buckingham, Wing
  • 1 Mass Vaccination Site – The Guttmann Centre at Stoke Mandeville Stadium
  • 2 Hospital Hub+ sites – these are now offering vaccines not only to health and social care staff, but to the public as well, at Stoke Mandeville and Amersham Hospitals.

Please note – appointments at any of these sites should be booked first, via the National Booking Service or by calling 119 if you can’t get online. Walk-in appointments are only available to people who are severely immunosuppressed at this time (anyone in that category should please take a note from their doctor or consultant when they go for their vaccination).

Opening times vary from site to site, but the earliest opens at 7am and the latest closes at 10pm, meaning there are more available timeslots than ever. All sites aim to operate, on average, 10-hour days.

Dr Raj Bajwa, Chair of NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The Omicron variant is very concerning – it is spreading quickly and two vaccine doses do not give us all the protection we need. The booster jab is estimated to restore your protection to around 75%. It is the best way to help to keep yourself, your family and your community safe. Appointments are now available for anyone aged 18 and over to get their jab, so please keep checking on the booking system as more become available every day.”

Anyone arranging a booster appointment is asked not to contact their GP to do this, and to cancel any bookings they no longer require or are unable to attend so that someone else can take that space.

You can use the National Booking Service (or call 119 if you can’t get online) to pre-book a booster dose of the vaccine if it’s been 2 months (61 days) since your second dose and you’re in one of these groups:

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Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West CCGs Primary Care Commissioning meetings in common postponed from 16 December

Due to the Prime Minister’s announcement on 12 December about the rapid expansion of the booster vaccine programme we are postponing the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West CCGs Primary Care Commissioning meetings in common on Thursday 16 December.

The main focus for the CCGs now to end of the month is to work to significantly expand local capacity to ensure we offer every adult the chance to book a covid-19 booster vaccine by the end of the year to help protect them and their family and community against the Omicron variant.

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Pharmacy opening times for Christmas and New Year 2021

Please click here for details of which pharmacies will be open, and their operating hours, across the NHS Buckinghamshire CCG area during the Christmas and New Year period.

As well as Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, these include details for the additional Bank Holidays on 27 and 28 December, and 3 January 2022.

Where possible, please also plan ahead to make sure you get any repeat prescriptions ahead of the Christmas break.

Please note – these details are correct at time of publishing, but are subject to change. You are advised to please contact the pharmacy before attending to ensure they are open and have the medication you require.

We would also ask that you please observe any COVID safety measure the pharmacy has in place on attending to help keep staff and visitors safe.

Local pharmacy details can be found at www.nhs.uk under ‘More Services’.

If you are still not sure what health service option to use, and it is not an emergency, call NHS 111 for advice.

You can also click on the links to find details of pharmacy opening times for Oxfordshire and Berkshire.

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This week’s Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West CCGs’ Governing Bodies meetings in common postponed

Due to the Prime Minister’s announcement on 12 December about the rapid expansion of the booster vaccine programme we are postponing the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West CCGs Governing Body meeting in common on Tuesday 14 December.

The main focus for the CCGs now to end of the month is to work to significantly expand local capacity to ensure we offer every adult the chance to book a COVID-19 booster vaccine by the end of the year to help protect them and their family and community against the Omicron variant.

The meeting will be postponed until late January / early February 2022. All papers are available here; none require a decision by the Governing Body in common. Questions relating to the papers can still be directed to bwccg.governingbodies@nhs.net up until 5pm on Wednesday 15 December 2021.  All questions and answers will be responded to and published on the website.

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Walk-in jabs paused at mass vaccination sites – please book your vaccination and booster appointments instead (applies to Guttmann Centre, Stoke Mandeville)

People wanting to get the COVID vaccination or booster at large-scale vaccination centres in and around Buckinghamshire are being urged to book an appointment by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Oxford Health is the lead provider for large-scale vaccination centres for Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West and cater for first, second and booster doses to all eligible people.

From Friday, 10 December, the Trust’s three vaccination sites – at the Guttmann Centre in Stoke Mandeville Stadium, the Kassam Stadium in Oxford and the Broad Street Mall in Reading – will be pausing the majority of walk-in jabs in order to prioritise pre-booked appointments. The only people who will receive walk-in doses are the severely immunosuppressed who have a letter advising of the need for a third primary dose or a booster.

You can book your first and second vaccinations and booster via the National Booking Service and also find alternative walk-in opportunities via the national Grab a Jab website.

Anita Sherwood, Oxford Health’s interim director for COVID operations, said: “As more people become eligible to book appointments on the National Booking System, we have taken the decision to suspend our walk-in offer so that we are able to maintain the smooth running of the mass vaccination centres.

“It is very encouraging to see so many people coming to our sites for their jabs every day and our teams are committed to ensuring that everyone who books gets theirs alongside a high level of care and customer service.

“We don’t want people to have a wasted journey so would encourage people to book an appointment or seek an alternative walk-in via the national website if that is what they prefer.

“We are continually looking at how we can use our resources to maximise appointment capacity and will keep the situation under review.”

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Buckinghamshire COVID vaccinations hit the one million mark

Buckinghamshire hit a major milestone in the battle against COVID-19 last weekend, as the number of vaccination doses given to people within the county passed the one million mark.

Across the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West healthcare system, more than 3.1 million vaccinations have been delivered. This includes 561,000 booster doses to date, with work ramping up to deliver as many more as possible over the coming weeks.

Since the COVID-19 vaccination programme launched in Buckinghamshire almost a year ago, on 15 December 2020, vaccines have been given across a range of venues. These include GP-led vaccinations sites, the mass vaccination site at The Guttman Centre in Stoke Mandeville Stadium, various pop-up clinics and the Health on The Move vaccination van which has been visiting local communities.

But the vaccination programme is not coming close to slowing down. As more people become eligible for their booster vaccinations, more appointments are becoming available.

If you have not yet had a vaccine – whether a first or second dose or a booster (if you have been contacted by the NHS to confirm that you are eligible), then please don’t delay. Arrange yours now, or head to a walk-in clinic to protect yourself and your loved ones, and to help stop the spread in the run up to Christmas festivities.

Dr Raj Bajwa, Chair of NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Delivering one million vaccination jabs in less than a year is a monumental feat and a testament to the hard work and dedication of all our vaccination teams – many of whom are delivering this programme on top of their normal duties in GP practices and hospitals. An enormous ‘thank you’ must also go to all those who have volunteered at the many vaccination sites across Bucks. The vaccination programme would not be the success it is without their invaluable support.

“But it is still vital that as many people as possible get their booster vaccination when they are eligible. So, when the NHS contacts you to tell you the time is right to get your booster, please make sure you take up the opportunity as soon as possible, to protect yourself and your loved ones. We are prioritising those at greatest risk and are now working steadily through our patient lists.”

Find out about local vaccination sites and updates here: https://www.buckinghamshireccg.nhs.uk/public/your-services/feeling-unwell/covid-19-vaccination-programme/local-covid-19-vaccination-updates/

Book an vaccination appointment here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/

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Chief Executive Designate announced for the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire & Berkshire West Integrated Care System

Dr James Kent has been appointed Chief Executive Designate of the new Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West (BOB) Integrated Care Board (ICB); due to be established in April 2022.  He has held the roles of Executive Lead of the Integrated Care System (ICS) and the Accountable Officer for the three Clinical Commissioning Groups since May 2020.

Welcoming James to his new role, Javed Khan, the Chair-designate of BOB ICB said: “I’m delighted with James’ appointment and look forward to working with him as we help the system realise its full potential to the benefit of our diverse population.”

James said: “I’m proud to be able to continue the journey I began when appointed to lead the ICS last May.  Over the last 18 months, I have seen the depth of talent that exists within all system partner organisations and our wider stakeholders and what we can achieve when we work together.  I am ever more convinced of the potential of this system to improve health and health outcomes for the population we serve.”

The ICB is part of new arrangements to improve joint working across the NHS, local authorities and a wide range of other partners to improve health, health outcomes and reduce health inequalities. The ICB will hold a budget of over £2.7bn from April 22/23 for commissioning high quality patient care for a population of around 1.8m people.

ICB chief executive roles are being appointed now as part of preparation for the Health and Care Bill 2021 gaining Royal Assent. The Bill, which contains a series of measures to formally establish Integrated Care Systems (ICSs), is currently at Committee Stage receiving a detailed examination following its second reading.

The Bill will put ICSs on a firm statutory footing, empowering them to better join up health and care, improve population health and reduce health inequalities.