Elderly Airth residents forced to travel to Stirling for flu jabs

A number of elderly residents are angry NHS Forth Valley has organised their flu vaccinations to be given in Stirling when they have a health facility in their village.

By James Trimble
Wednesday, 28th October 2020, 4:40 pm

Elderly people in Airth are upset they are being told to make an 18 mile round trip to the Albert Halls in Stirling to get their annual flu vaccine – instead of the GP practice on their doorstep.

One 82-year-old Airth resident said: “In the past, locals got their flu jab at the modern Airth Health Centre which has been closed to patients since March – but it still being used by NHS staff for other purposes.

“The decision by NHS Forth Valley to send us to Stirling surely flies in the face of all the COVID-19 restrictions and precautions we are being told to observe and take – stay at home and don’t use public transport.”.

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Elderly residents of Airth are angry NHS Forth Valley is forcing them to travel all the way to Stirling for their flu jabs when they have a health centre in their village

“I believe this problem arises from the fact the Airth health centre, and the patients registered with it, is under the jurisdiction of the Fallin Health Centre GP HQ which, of course, means bureaucracy dictates the Airth elderly have to go to the Albert Halls in Stirling, starting from around November 6.

“I have no idea how many of us ‘wrinklies’ are involved in this charade but there must be a fair number. I think this a disgraceful and dismissive way at any time to treat the elderly and more vulnerable – never mind in the middle of a pandemic.

“The health board should be ashamed of making such a stupid and potentially dangerous arrangement.”

NHS Forth Valley said there are services available to help those who would have difficulty attending appointments at the Albert Halls.

A spokesperson added: “Airth Medical Centre remains open and is continuing to provide GP Practice and a range of other health services. This year, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, NHS Boards have been given responsibility for delivering the flu vaccination rather than local GP Practices.

“In order to achieve this NHS Boards across Scotland, including NHS Forth Valley, have had to set immunisation clinics in larger community venues to manage the significant numbers of patients involved while maintaining physical distancing and meeting a number of vaccine storage, waste disposal and other safety requirements.

“As Airth is a branch surgery of the Fallin, Cowie and Airth Medical Practice, all patients registered with this practice have been invited to flu vaccination clinics at the Albert Halls in Stirling.

“Anyone who has any difficulties attending a community vaccination session can email our flu appointments team – [email protected] – or call our free flu helpline free flu helpline on 0800 1303120 to make alternative arrangements.

“District nursing staff and GPs continue to vaccinate eligible people, including those who are housebound, during home visits and other healthcare appointments, where possible.”

The spokesperson added NHS Forth Valley’s Flu Immunisation Team continues to monitor and review the locations of community clinics and is also gathering feedback from patients to help inform future vaccination arrangements.