Teesside GPs warn of danger to patient safety as phone lines are ‘blocked’ with COVID vaccine queries

GPs across Teesside have warned of the danger to patient safety after phone lines are ‘blocked’ with a deluge of calls from patients inquiring about Covid-19 vaccinations.

Health chiefs are once again urging people not to contact their GP practice to ask about Covid-19 vaccinations, as extreme volumes of calls are preventing patients’ with urgent healthcare needs from getting through.

Dr Janet Walker, medical director, NHS Tees Valley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “The number of calls practices are getting from people enquiring about the vaccine is absolutely overwhelming, with one practice receiving over 126,000 calls in one day.

Many practices across Tees Valley have installed extra phone lines to deal with consultations now taking place over the telephone.

Practices are also asking patients to use alternative methods including visiting their practice website for health advice or to start an online consultation via eConsult, and reminding patients that repeat prescriptions can be requested online, or by using the NHS App.

“Remember, GP practices do not control vaccine supply or arrange appointments via the National Booking System,” added Dr Walker.

“All appointments’ are updated daily in line with vaccine delivery, so please keep checking online if you are eligible for the vaccine and your preferred option is not available first time.

“For people who would rather be vaccinated by their local GP services, we ask that you please be a patient patient – when it is your turn to receive a vaccination, be assured you will be contacted directly.”