Lichfield GP surgeries say they will stop offering coronavirus vaccinations from the end of this month.

A vial of the COVID-19 vaccine. Picture: DoD/Lisa Ferdinando
A vial of the COVID-19 vaccine. Picture: DoD/Lisa Ferdinando

Lichfield Primary Care Network – made up of The Westgate Practice and Langton Medical Group – said the “difficult decision” had been made to step back from the programme.

A letter to patients said delivering vaccinations over the past 12 months had impacted on workloads of staff and therefore it would stop offering jabs from 31st January.

“Lichfield Primary Care Network has delivered approximately 45,000 vaccinations. This vital work was in addition to our day to day activities.

“This task has been undertaken by practice staff, additional clinical staff who had recently left or retired and volunteers.

“Providing and conducting this additional service has increased the workloads of all staff and placed extra pressure on them.

“The administration of vaccines began in earnest in January 2021 and has been unrelenting for the past 12 months – going forward this is not sustainable on a reactive and unplanned basis.”

Lichfield Primary Care Network letter to patients

The surgeries said that other options for vaccinations were now available for patients seeking their jabs.

“We have throughout the pandemic offered first, second and booster doses to all patients aged 16 and over, but feel now is the right time to step back from the programme.

“There are many different providers of the Covid-19 vaccination programme, including community pharmacists, mass vaccination sites, walk-in centres and pop-up clinics.

“However, general primary care services can only be provided to our patients by their GP practice with whom they are registered. It is vitally important that we continue to offer appointments, long term condition reviews and other services during this challenging and uncertainty time.

“We understand that some patients may be concerned by this announcement, but hope they understand the pressures facing primary care.”

Lichfield Primary Care Network letter to patients

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  1. There is now even less opportunities for the jab in Lichfield. Why do we get second rate services? Clearly our MP and other elected officials are too preoccupied with defending Boris, trading insults, embezzlement and approving the building of more houses and retirement homes to notice and care about local services.

  2. So does this mean we will be able to see a doctor , have not seen or heard from our family doctor since 2019 .

  3. Well all I can say is does this mean the GP’s are actually going to do some work because they will have no excuse now and perhaps the so called practice manager at Langton will actually answer the long list of complaints

  4. No walk in centre for Lichfield.
    However if it improves GP services that is a good thing.
    Maybe our MP could concern himself with improving the vaccine service for Lichfield instead of talking rubbish on his endless TV appearances. He let’s us down.

  5. I feel duty bound to defend the Westgate Practice. I’ve only ever had extremely good service from them. The doctors are (without exception in my experience) fantastic. Sure, there is an issue with trying to get appointments sometimes but, I don’t really see the surgery as the guilty party. They’re being asked to absorb ever more patients in order to cater for the increased population.

  6. @Denise : you will not see any improvement in gp services. They are working to rule, they believe that they are underpaid and overwork. Most of them only work 16.5 hours per week . If you don’t believe me go and ask any a&e doctor what they think of them and it will be strong language.

  7. @martin you’ve obviously never tried making an appointment? My 82 year old mother spent an hour trying to get through on the phone just to be fobbed off to not see a doctor ? Luckily she’s persistent and insisted on seeing 1. Terrible place who need putting into special measures. If they cannot cope with all the new houses say no to new patients and force the issue with the health care body ?

  8. @Mr Mr. I completely sympathise. As I said, it’s a case of increased pressure on GP services, and virtually no resource from central Gov to help. There are less GPs year on year, and the average patient list per GP is rising every year.

    I would suspect that GP practices are already jumping up and down about patient numbers and stretched resources but, when was the last time you heard Michael Fabricant raise the issue in Parliament?? Lichfield City’s population is growing circa 20% every decade (with a boom at the moment due to all the additional housing). Where are the new GP Surgeries to absorb the new residents? There aren’t any. The Gov’s answer is to simply increase the maximum number of patients each GP can have on their books. It’s madness, and it’s already well documented.

    https://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/news/workload/number-of-registered-patients-per-gp-rises-to-almost-2100/

    So, I do completely sympathise because i sometimes struggle to get an appointment too. However, let’s not blame the GPs – let’s blame the council AND our (let’s be honest) completely useless, media obsessed MP, who seems to have a full time job on GBNews (almost like he doesn’t have a full time job already).

    Ps. One final note, I actually had a telephone app with a GP on a Sunday about 3 weeks ago, so Westgate are obviously trying!

  9. @martin : they can say no to new patients, most gp practices are run as a business the gp’s are self employed and they rent the surgery off the nhs. They get paid per person every year on there books. Most gp services have a business managers and accountants now. As Mr Mr said trying to see one is very difficult.

  10. Gotta agree with Martin Daly. I’m not with the practice in question but, I was a GP for 6 years. The pressure is immense. Yes, it’s well paid but, people simply do not realise the pressure GPs are under to diagnose and treat a patient in 10mins. I saw 61 patient on my busiest day. 61 diagnosis which. in some cases, can mean life or death if you get it wrong in that 10 minutes. That was a 10 hour shift. Now (preempting the scream of “I do 12 hour shifts all the time”) it’s not the same!! It’s mentally exhausting and working long hours when you’re dealing with peoples lives simply isn’t a good mix. Would you be happy for a absolutely knackered and sleepy mechanic to fix your brakes? No, thought not.

    The real issue is – lack of new GPs entering the profession. It’s a complicated reason why but essentially, it’s no longer an attractive proposition, especially when you consider medical students will have circa £70-80k debt as they graduate (really, who wants that?).

    In addition to that, the profession is “leaking” more GPs than its recruiting – largely due to burnout (as was partly the reason in my case). So – the problem will just eventually get worse.

    The point of GPS managing their own patient numbers. This is true but (and it’s a big BUT), the way GPS are paid makes it tempting to operate in areas with a low upper age demographic. Older people tend to require more apps than younger people (generally speaking). The GP gets paid per patient on their books – not by appointment. When I was in practice, you didn’t turn patients away….you just didn’t. And that wasn’t an economic decision, it was a “we provide an essential service” decision. The “market” (sorry, but that’s what it is now), is based on need, not wan so, if someone comes to a GP to register, you’ll find they’re taken on. I don’t think that necessarily a bad thing either.

    The system is fundamentally broken. The Gov are actually doing very little from what I see, to fix it – apart from gently invoking more services from the Private Sector, which will not end well but, sadly, that’s what Boris wants. Also, poking GPs in the media, and stoking up “patient wars” by alluding to the phallic that GPs are on the golf course most of the week, is doing nothing for morale or recruitment.

    The NHS is a headache for any government. The funding, the running of it, the political sensitivity etc. However, Labour see it as a necessary headache (moral obligation etc.): Conservatives see it as simply a headache so, if they can offload that to the private sector….all the better.

    There’s no single thing to blame. I dare say there are bad GPs who are accepting patients purely to get more revenue but, they certainly wasn’t my experience (it wasn’t even on my horizon to be honest). If you want to blame anyone, I would strongly suggest the Gov is 70% to blame.

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I’m no longer in gen practice!! I now work in a related sector for a fraction of the salary, and I would never go back. I actually still have some of my student loan to repay! What does that tell you?

  11. It is very hard for GP’s to stop allowing new patients to register.

    It is not just the number of patients in Lichfield. It is the age of patients. Sadly, as I have got older. Contact with my GP has increased. Lichfield has had many developments for older people, built in recent years. A city with a majority of the population in their 20’s. Uses GP services far less than a population in their 80’s.

  12. The post by Claire is great and actually summarises the situation perfectly. Unfortunately belleview holds the perception many members of the public do; a naive and misguided one. I’m a newly qualified GP. I’ve finished 10 years of training, accrued 60k training debts, and work harder in one day than most do in a week. The job entails a hug amount of stress and little reward. The public’s perception adds to this. Like Claire and many others I’m already plotting my way out.

  13. @WR : I am taking Claire post with a pinch of salt, first of all it doesn’t make sence. The average time is 10 minutes per patient and she saw 61 in one day that is 10 hours 10mins non stop. What about breaks, lunch, trips to the wc. If you allow 10 mins per patient when the patient leaves the consulting room there is about a 5 minute wait for the gp to get the next patients information on their computer and then the patient has to walk to the consulting room so its impossible for them to see 6 per hour. Also she mentions 12 hour shift please can you tell me which health centre opens for that long I would love to know. You say you had 10 years of training and just qualified as a gp and now want to leave knowing the country is short of gp’s. We are best off without you.

  14. @WR… I am sorry you are so stressed by your job. Clearly it is impossible to perform effectively in those circumstances.
    Remuneration for doctors in a practice are in the region of eighty to a hundred and twenty thousand pounds depending on experience. The practice holders are shareholders and are rewarded out of profits.
    For a long time now health provision has become problematic. Most people relying on the NHS would concur that appointments are difficult to obtain. In person over the last few years almost impossible. Even emergency situations are not delt with promptly. For all your training the general population are having to rely on paramedics and pharmacists for treatment. I have experience in my family of how dangerous this can be.
    Many still aspire to study medicine. There is a dire need for it but it seems to be more expedient to import doctors than train them here.
    Finally, two things. The attitude that many have to the NHS, that it is an ‘entitlement’ and can be used for every trivial complaint does much to clog the system.
    Secondly, health provision has to be proportionate to the size of population (and the range of expanding treatments). For a City? the size of Lichfield to be so sparsely supplied is an indictment of the District Council who expand housing but not infrastructure. This is not restricted to medical services!

  15. Good to get a perspective from GPS, which confirms what I have long felt, that we have an underfunded NHS that is falling apart at the seams. The difficulties in getting GP appointments, the packed waiting rooms at A&E departments and the long waiting lists for treatments all point to a system that is woefully under resourced, and has been for a long time. The exorbitant costs of training that would be doctors have to meet and the removal of bursaries for nurses in training have not helped. People going abroad for treatment highlights the seriousness of the situation. Successive governments have not had a clue what to do to improve matters. The imposition of waiting time limits and the recent utterances of the Health Minister on penalising under performing trusts shows a complete lack of understanding of the roots of the problem. That billions of public money can be wasted on vanity projects like HS2 instead of properly resourcing our health system shows the warped sense of priority that governments, and in particular the Tories, have

  16. @lichvegas : just shows how nasty the lefties are, one spelling mistake which was probably down to my phone changing it . Next time i will double check if it makes you happy You don’t like what I say because it right. You and the lefties are always running the nhs down but it is always there when you need it.

  17. Belleview _ My shaky grasp of history tells me that a Labour government founded the NHS. It also tells me that the right voted against it 22 times.

    Poor attempt to rewrite history. Must try harder.

  18. @belleview
    I’m not really here to target others but you illustrate my point and it maybe an idea to reflect on it. Claire could’ve been a GP working in out of hours services, walk-in centres, locuming in a minor injuries unit etc. I know it seems unrealistic to manage so many patients but sorry that would not surprise me in the slightest. You mention ‘breaks, lunch, trips to the toilet’ – again this illustrates my point about naivety. Doctors and most clinical staff anywhere (GP, hospital, or tertiary settings) do not get treated like the rest of the workforce. We miss breaks. We miss lunch. We work tirelessly to care for our patients. I on average work 1 hour unpaid overtime everyday. Seeing/speaking to patients is a part of the job but there is much more behind the scenes that you don’t see. Working a 12 hour shift in a GP surgery is entirely normal. Your comment about asking ‘any A&E doctor’ illustrates again the GP-bashing nature you have been misguided with. Did you know GPs are placed in urgent, acute and emergency care throughout their training? We will treat patients in A&E and there would be plenty of more junior doctors treating you too. Specialities in medicine always criticise each other and I could quite easily comment on the weaknesses of A&E doctors. I have missed family time, Christmas’s, funerals, accumulated debts paying thousands to sit exams, spent day and night caring for others frightened to death of making a mistake, and thus sacrificed my personal health to help people like you. Tell me why you or your family are best off without us doctors?

  19. Rich un caring doctors money
    Greed before humanity
    Big houses and electric car drivers Holidays any time
    Shame on you Dr 😕

  20. Interesting, because im a patient on Langton Medical and ive never been offered the jab by them even though being on immune suppressants

  21. @WR : I also work for the nhs, I have done 35 years and 9 months and not at any time have I wanted to get out like you. I have also missed lots of family time aswell. Thats the nature of the job. I wear my nhs id with pride and the patients come first. When I started in the 80’s it was not about money it was about care. Looks like your not cut out to be gp I wish you the best of luck in your new career.

  22. @WR : you said you missed Christmas and even funerals your story is getting as bad as Claires. Yes 61 patients in one day does seems unrealistic. Then you talk about money again by sitting exams. Did you know millions of people go into debt to get there dream job. I know I have just put my son through university. The people of lichfield and burntwood would be better if they could see a doctor face to face and not be fobbed off by the receptionist.

  23. Belleview’s story is utterly unbelievable. Clearly this doesn’t person doesn’t work in the NHS, or the wouldn’t talk such utter, utter drivel. Nobody in their right mind could work in that NHS AND have that view.

    Well done for trying though.

  24. @Dave I am sorry you don’t like my point of view. In the nhs every 2 years we have to complete mandatory health and safety training courses. This is mainly done through E learning but sometimes there are socially distance courses. Where WR works there would be risk assessment in place to prevent overwork and stress related issues. Also gp’s have regular meetings with the management some people call these BUG meetings and gp’s workloads would be probably top of list. At the moment nhs England and the commission groups are really pushing mental health and work related stress in the workplace. If a member of staff went off sick with work related stress there would be a inquiry. I know fair amount for somebody who does not work in the nhs.

  25. You 100% haven’t work in a clinical or patient facing role. At best you sit in office admin thinking that the theory fits the practice. It’s like your trying to push your ‘experience’ and fit it into the problems that clinicians are facing. It’s laughable

  26. Literally everything Belleview has said is easily obtainable from a 10 second Google search!! Listen, if i Google “heart bypass”, and read how it’s done, it doesn’t make me a cardiac surgeon!!!

    As Dave said …”nice try”. Also, very telling how you don’t give your name.

    Pfft!

  27. @Amy Bragg : There are many people on LL that don’t give their names, why do you want to know. I am sorry you don’t like my point of view but when people post they open themselves up to comments and scrutiny. My views are not to everyones taste on LL but it would be boring if everyone had the same views.

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