Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited the Orpington Health and Wellbeing Centre in Bromley on 15 February, to meet NHS staff, volunteers and patients at the COVID-19 vaccination clinic, one of South East London Integrated Care Partnership’s 25 GP led vaccination sites.
Orpington Health and Wellbeing Centre opened in September 2019 and provides a range of community-based health services to Orpington residents in the heart of the town centre.
In December 2020, it became the first GP led COVID-19 vaccination centre to open in Bromley, vaccinating patients from 17 local GP practices.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“It was great to meet Ruchira [Paranjape], Clare [Ross], Angela [Bhan], Taraq [Waheed], and the fantastic NHS team at Orpington Health and Wellbeing Centre on Monday, who are working incredibly hard to get south east London vaccinated. GPs have done an incredible job from the start of our vaccination programme, getting millions of often hard to reach people and communities protected. Hitting 15 million jabs was a magical milestone, but we won’t let up – with people aged 65 and over invited this week, and all adults offered a vaccine by autumn. Please continue to come forward when it’s your turn, and play your part in protecting yourself, the people you love, and in helping defeat this virus.”
Dr Ruchira Paranjape, GP at the Knoll Medical Practice in Orpington showed the Prime Minister around the Orpington Health and Wellbeing Centre. Dr Paranjape said:
“There is huge dedication from local GPs to make the Covid-19 vaccination programme work in Bromley and across south east London. As well as having five GP led vaccination sites in the borough, many of our practices are running clinical satellite clinics which have been critical in getting our housebound patients vaccinated and reaching communities who may have difficulties getting to the main vaccination sites. It was a pleasure to introduce the Prime Minister to the many individuals working so hard to make our vaccination programme a success. The vaccine is so important and will hopefully help us get back to normal life.”
Clare Ross, Chief Executive of the Bromley GP Alliance (a federation of GPs supporting general practice in Bromley), said:
“It has been extremely rewarding for the Bromley GP Alliance to mobilise, organise and run the COVID-19 vaccination clinics at Orpington Health and Wellbeing Centre and at two other GP led sites in Bromley, delivering over 25,000 vaccinations so far.
“We have provided the infrastructure and capacity, working with general practice in Bromley, to support the vaccination programme whilst keeping regular general practice services going. Our Bromleag Care Practice vaccinated 100% of elderly care home residents eligible for the vaccine in a very short timescale.”
Dr Angela Bhan, Place Based Director for Bromley services, part of NHS South East London Clinical Commissioning Group said:
“As we now start to vaccinate the next priority groups, it is critical that we offer our residents easy access to their vaccine. We have done really well to reach people aged 70 and over and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.
“To keep up this good work, we will continue to work closely with all our Bromley partners, including the council, providers and the voluntary sector to reach those communities where we know uptake is lower, such as those who are not registered with a GP and our BAME communities.”
David Lipscombe, Facilities Co-ordinator at Orpington Health and Wellbeing Centre, said:
“We are delighted to have been able to mobilise Orpington Health and Wellbeing Centre as a vaccination site for the local community. It has been a busy time for me and my colleagues in setting up 250 vaccination sites across England, but it is fantastic to have the hard work that we and the clinical frontline have put in be recognised in such a way.”
Bromley is the largest London borough, and has the greatest number of older people who need to be vaccinated. Residents can get their vaccine in several ways including through hospitals hubs, GP led Primary Care Network sites, clinical satellite clinics, roving services for the housebound and the new mass vaccination site which is due to open at Bromley Civic Centre in March.
Dr Andrew Parson, Bromley GP and the COVID Vaccination Clinical Lead for south east London added: “Getting your COVID-19 vaccination will help to protect you and your family and those you care for. Our message to anyone in a priority group who has not yet come forward to have their vaccination is that we are here for you, and when you decide to have your vaccination, your local GP practice can make an appointment for you as soon as possible.”
The Prime Minister’s visit came on the first day of new priority groups being invited in for their vaccine – people aged 65 and over, carers and those with under lying health conditions. However, there are still residents in the top priority groups eligible for a vaccination who have been contacted, and are encouraged to come forward. Simply contact your GP or use the national booking service or dial 119 to get booked in. You can watch a short video of the Prime Minister’s visit here.