Redbridge GPs give up weekends for mass flu clinics

14 October 2020

   ‘In total that day my surgery vaccinated 1256 patients’ 

With the number of second wave Covid-19 cases on the rise, GPs across our area have been working hard to help protect the NHS this winter by delivering additional weekend flu vaccination clinics for the vulnerable. 

One of those GPs is Redbridge CCG Chair, Dr Anil Mehta. We caught up with Dr Mehta on a rare break from surgery. 

Tell us about your Saturday flu clinics – how many patients are/were you vaccinating, how many clinicians are working, what hours are you open 

We ran two clinics – the first for the over 65s from 9am-5pm and the second til 1pm for those clinically at risk. There were four of us vaccinating, two of our practice team getting health forms completed and three clinicians doing blood pressure checks on the same day. 

It was pretty full-on with patients booked at 30 second intervals and the queue limited to 15 at any one time. In total that day we vaccinated 1256 patients between us and took 771 blood pressures! 

It was tiring, but a very effective way of avoiding patients having to attend surgery more than once and to capture those that hadn't attended the surgery for routine checks in the past six months. 

Q: How closely linked this winter is the fight against flu and Covid-19?

Symptoms of Covid and flu are similar, but it is important that patients are vaccinated against flu in order for secondary and primary care not to be overwhelmed during the winter season. 

Q: Is it a concern for you as a GP in Redbridge in particular – if so, why?

Yes, it is a significant concern in Redbridge due to the alarming increase in the reported number of positive Covid cases we are seeing. We are currently prioritising shielded patients, over 65-year-olds and those in clinical at-risk groups. We are fully geared up to vaccinate any extended cohorts.   

Q: What’s your message to eligible people who might think they don’t need the flu vaccine this winter?

I would urge everyone eligible to please get vaccinated. The NHS doesn't want valuable beds and services used by patients with flu when they may well be required for Covid patients. 

This year patients should not only think of themselves when deciding to get vaccinated, but the greater population.