By Bill Heaney
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, which includes West Dunbartonshire, is today issuing an apology to members of the public for the way in which the flu vaccination programme has been delivered so far this year.
It’s usually Health Minister Jeane Freeman who says ‘sorry’ when these things happen, but she appears to have been taken out of the picture by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Another one bites the dust.
The Health Board says it is very aware of the concerns that have been raised by members of the public and the anxiety felt by those in the 65+ age group who are yet to receive their flu vaccination.
It adds: “NHSGGC would like to reassure members of the public that all remaining letters to the 65+age group will be sent this week and their appointment will be scheduled before the end of November.”
Senior members of the Health Board team met with local MPs and MSPs yesterday to understand in more detail the concerns of constituents and explain the actions that are underway to resolve these issues.
Jane Grant, Chief Executive of NHSGGC, pictured right, said: “On behalf of the Health Board, I would like to sincerely apologise to all those people who have experienced issues with their flu vaccination appointments. We are very sorry for any distress and anxiety this has caused, especially among the more vulnerable members of our local communities.
“There have been a number of challenges with the delivery of the flu vaccination programme and we have taken action to ensure this situation never happens again.
“We would like to offer reassurance to those in the 65+ year old age group who are yet to receive their flu vaccination that all remaining letters will be sent this week and you will have your appointment scheduled to take place before the end of November, before the flu season starts between late December and January.
“For those who received their letter after their appointment date, we will ensure that you get an alternative appointment. We understand that many people have struggled to get through to our appointment line and we are very sorry for that. We have now employed an additional 20 call handlers to manage inquiries so that more people can be supported in a more timely way. If members of the public do need to change their appointment, please contact us on 0800 707 6699 or via email at email@example.com
“If individuals need to change the timing of their appointment, we will do everything possible to rearrange this for them. If there are accessibility issues with their assigned vaccination centre, we will work with each individual on a case by case basis to find the centre most suitable for them.
“The flu vaccination programme has been especially challenging this year, due to the increased number of eligible people and because it is vitally important that we adhere to physical distancing guidelines when administering vaccinations. However, we will make sure that we learn the lessons from what has happened this year and put measures in place to avoid these issues being repeated.
“I would like to thank our MPs and MSPs for making the time to speak with us yesterday. We remain committed to working with you to address any concerns that have been raised by people living in our region.
“Finally, we would also like to thank all of our staff who are delivering flu vaccinations to members of the public. We very much appreciate the work you are doing to support our communities.”