GP surgery apologises after patients invited for vaccine by mistake

Stock image of woman with vaccine

Regal Chambers Surgery in Hitchin has apologised after patients were invited to have their COVID-19 vaccines by mistake - Credit: PA

A GP surgery in Hitchin has apologised after an error saw the wrong cohort of people invited via text to receive their COVID-19 vaccination. 

On Wednesday, Regal Chambers Surgery in Bancroft mistakenly invited around 250 people aged between 60 and 64 to have their vaccine.

Street view of Regal Chambers Surgery, Bancroft

Regal Chambers Surgery has apologised following the error - Credit: Google

So far, more than 16 million people in the UK have had their first jab and, after hitting its first target, NHS vaccine hubs have now moved to inviting those ages between 65 and 69, or those aged 16 to 64 with underlying health conditions.

After realising the error, the surgery quickly informed patients that it had been sent by mistake.

It said: "Regal Chambers Surgery apologises to our patients aged between 60 and 64 who mistakenly received an invite to attend the COVID vaccination clinic.  

"Unfortunately the incorrect list of patients was uploaded to the booking system and invites were automatically sent. We are very sorry for the distress and confusion that this may have caused; we are managing huge amounts of data and trying to get to grips with a new booking system which was introduced last week.  

"Human error led to the wrong group of patients being invited and as soon as we realised, a follow up text was sent to confirm this mistake.

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"Patients aged between 60 and 64 are in the next group (cohort 7) to be vaccinated so you will be hearing from us very soon.

"We are currently inviting patients aged between 16 and 64 with an underlying health condition. Our practice alone has over 1,000 patients to invite in this group."

The surgery is providing COVID vaccines as part of a group of practices across Hitchin and Whitwell, and is informed week by week the amount of doses it will receive, meaning it is unable to invite the next cohort yet. 

The amount of vaccine it receives each week varies from around 400 to 1,500.

Patients aged over 65 or who are clinically extremely vulnerable and have not yet received the first dose of the COVID vaccination are able to access an appointment at the large scale vaccination sites if you haven’t been booked with Regal Chambers.

The nearest one to Hitchin is at Robertson House in Stevenage.  

The surgery added: "We do ask patients to please not call the surgery with queries about the COVID vaccination. Patients still need to be able to speak to the practice about urgent health concerns and the high volume of calls we are receiving is potentially preventing these patients from being able to get through to the surgery. 

"We understand this is an anxious time for everyone and that many patients are keen to have the vaccine.  We are working through the lists of patients and inviting them in as per government guidance. Thank you for your patience and understanding."

A spokeswoman for the surgery also added: "It is important that we go through this priority list in order so that the people most vulnerable and at increased risk of complications from coronavirus are vaccinated first.

"We apologise that this error may have caused some distress, but rest assured that group will be invited very soon.

“We would like to thank all the hardworking staff and volunteers who have supported us with this vaccination programme, we couldn’t do it without you all.”

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