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Covid-19 vaccination centre is moving from St Bonniface House to Follaton House, Totnes from next week.
South Hams District Council office headquarters, Follaton House, will be used by the South Dartmoor and Totnes and South Hams Primary Care Networks as a COVID vaccination centre from Wednesday 7 April.
A spokesperson for Dartmouth Medical Centre said: "From Wednesday, 7 April, all COVID vaccinations (including second doses but excluding any done in the surgeries) will take place in Follaton House, Totnes. The service will no longer be provided from St Boniface House. If you have an appointment up until 3 April, please continue to attend St Boniface." The spokesperson said the move has "several benefits to both patients and the service", including:- The car parking has increased to over 100 spaces- We will be able to increase the amount of people vaccinated per day- The location is moved closer to several of the nine other surgeries we are working with, reducing the travel time for many patients- The space is much larger, therefore we can see an increase in social distancing- Queuing outside will be reduced for those busier times- The observation area will also be within the building, and not a marquee solution- Staff welfare will be better catered for
"The St Boniface site can be seen as a triumph. We have vaccinated over 30,000 patients at this site. We are very grateful for all of the help we have received from the Dioceses of Plymouth and our dedicated volunteers."
A spokesperson for South Hams District Council said the council has "supported the community throughout the COVID pandemic" and with Follaton House being located on the outskirts of Totnes, with an easily accessible car park, they were "happy to offer their offices as a community vaccine hub".
The new centre will welcome its first patients from Wednesday, 7 April, and is planned to operate over the summer period. Each day the new site is in operation, double the vaccinations are expected to be carried out for local residents.
The spokesperson for SHDC continued: “We’re absolutely delighted to be able to be offer our office space to our local team of GP surgeries so that more of our community are able to get their COVID vaccines as quickly as possible. One of our top priorities is the health and wellbeing of our residents, so for us it was an easy decision to make.
“As a council our staff have had the opportunity to work flexibly, from home or the office, as part of an agile working strategy for a number of years. As a result of the strategy, the majority of staff were able to carry out their normal work from home.
“When the pandemic arrived, we simply asked all our staff and Members to work from home, using video conferencing for communicating and Council meetings. This temporary unused office space is now being put to excellent use with the vaccination centre.
“Being on the edge of Totnes, we’re well placed for quick access to other towns with easy, level parking. The building’s ground floor has separate rooms just off the reception, so the more frail or elderly can be treated quickly and easily. While the upstairs office space has plenty of room for the vaccination stations, before returning via a one-way system back to the car park, without having to meet another person.
"There’s plenty of room to move around safely, which is what makes Follaton House a perfect setting for a vaccination centre.”
Two Primary Care Networks have been involved in making the vaccination centre a reality. One being the South Dartmoor and Totnes Primary Care Network, which includes GP surgeries from, Ashburton, Buckfastleigh, Catherine House, Leatside and South Brent. Along with the South Hams Primary Care Network which includes surgeries from Chillington, Dartmouth, Modbury, Norton Brook and Redfern.
Patients at these surgeries will be offered vaccinations at Follaton House that will allow the surgeries to double their current capacity.
Initially the site will be for patients who are due their second dose and patients at these surgeries will be contacted to inform them of the change in their location.
Martin Randall, lead manager at South Dartmoor and South Hams COVID Vaccination Service, said: “We are very excited about moving to Follaton House, which will enable us to double our capacity per day as we move to second phase of the programme. This will allow us to provide first doses for our younger population whilst administering second doses for our earlier cohorts. The site is located more centrally and will reduce travelling times for those who live in the south of the area.
“We are very appreciative of the support we have received from the Diocese of Plymouth and our incredible group of volunteers during the first phase of the campaign. We now look forward to our partnership with South Hams District Council as we move forward with this unprecedented vaccination programme.”
The Local Vaccination Service will move from St Boniface, Buckfast, to Follaton House, Totnes, from Wednesday, 7 April, and patients will be contacted by their practice to confirm this when providing an appointment for their second vaccination.
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