Preparing for the winter ahead – update from Frome Medical Practice 

Please read our update on winter vaccinations and ways in which people can look after their health as winter approaches.

Dr Helen Kingston, Senior Partner at the practice, said, “This winter may be challenging, with the resurgence of common viral infections, including flu, and the on-going situation with COVID circulating amongst our population.  We are hoping that by offering patients more information on ways to look after their health, along with encouraging people to have their winter vaccinations, we can support the population of Frome to stay well during the coming months.”

 

Flu Vaccination Clinics

We have already started our flu vaccination clinics. These are initially being offered to patients aged over 65 or those patients who are more vulnerable. The practice is texting or calling patients to invite them to make an appointment, or patients can use the online booking system to book their flu jab (you will need to be registered to use the online booking system.) Patients are asked to wait for their text or call and not phone the practice to enquire about appointments, in order that the practice can manage demand.  You can read the full update about flu vaccinations here.

 

COVID boosters

However, the practice has taken the decision not to deliver the COVID booster vaccine to the majority of patients, the exception being those who are housebound.

Dr Kingston explains this decision, “Earlier this year Frome Medical Practice, with the support of our patients and staff, delivered over 25,000 COVID vaccines.  We were asked to only undertake the COVID booster vaccine programme this autumn if we could guarantee we could do it without it impacting our normal service delivery. Given that our team is continuing to work hard to support the backlog of care needs that has arisen as a result of the pandemic, and because demand for appointments at the practice remains exceptionally high, we didn’t feel able to make this promise. We have a finite workforce, who have been working at capacity for 18 months now, and it’s crucial that we maintain our day to day service delivery at this time.”

Instead, the team at Shape Mendip Council offices will be amongst those delivering COVID booster vaccines to the local population. Frome Medical Practice will continue to offer flu vaccinations and will support delivery of COVID boosters to housebound patients. Patients in eligible groups can book their COVID boosters via the National Booking service and will receive a text or letter with instructions on how to do this. 

Dr Kingston said, “We understand that patients will be disappointed not to be able to receive the COVID booster vaccine at the practice, but we want to encourage them to book their flu jab and COVID booster when they are able to. We will continue to work alongside the Shape Mendip team where we can, whilst delivering day to day medical care across Frome and we thank all our patients for their continued cooperation and support at what remains a challenging time for everyone.”

 

Staying healthy this winter

The practice is also offering patients advice and information on staying healthy this winter. Dr Kingston said, “COVID has highlighted the importance of healthy lifestyles. Our Health Connections team has summarised some really useful information into one leaflet, which we’d encourage patients to look at. It includes details on local support available on a range of issues including being more active, mental health and stopping smoking, for example. ”

Patients can view this information here and additional information is also available here.

 

Keeping warm this winter

The practice is also working with Frome Town Council and the Centre for Sustainable Energy on a ‘healthy homes’ project. Cold and damp homes are bad for physical and mental health, and living in a home that is draughty means people end up paying more for their energy bills.  Patients can find out more about this by clicking here. The  Health Connections team have summarised additional sources of support here.

We will continue to provide updates on the winter vaccination programme and ways to stay well this via our website and social media.

Published: Sep 29, 2021