Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Hastings and Rye MP Sally-Ann Hart at the newly opened vaccination site at Laycocks Pharmacy in Ore (photo: Hastings and Rye Conservatives website).

CCG fills information gap on growing vaccination service in Hastings and Rother

The growing network of vaccination sites is enabling immunisation against the coronavirus to gather pace in Hastings and Rother. The NHS East Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group has moved to fill the information gap on how the service is organised and how it works. Nick Terdre reports.

The lack of information hitherto has clearly worried some residents, judging by the questions and complaints posted on social media and in local email groups. Everyone seems to know someone in a lower priority group who has had the jab and someone in a higher priority group who has not.

On Thursday one Hastings GP surgery texted that some of its patients were starting to receive letters from the national vaccination booking system inviting them to book an appointment at the Brighton centre or a local pharmacy.

A 35-mile trip to get the jab does not seem the best solution, especially if you are in your 70s or 80s and do not have a car. The text message advised that patients could take up that offer or wait for the Central Booking Team to make contact “in the next few weeks” to arrange an appointment at the vaccination centre at Hastings Centre on The Ridge.

Information provided to HOT by the NHS East Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group states that, “We are on course to vaccinate the top four priority groups by mid-February, in line with the national target,” so people in these groups will not be expecting to have to wait “a few weeks” to be offered an appointment.

Vaccination sites and services

The CCG said there are a number of ways in which the vaccination is being rolled out to our communities:

  • Local vaccination services– these include the GP-led or community vaccination services, and pharmacy services in some areas;
  • Large vaccination centres– each county will have one large vaccination centre which will be able to give the vaccine to large numbers of people as more supplies become available. The Brighton Centre went live this week for anyone in the eligible groups living within 60 miles;
  • Roving service– the vaccine is being taken into care homes and into people’s own homes if they cannot attend a vaccination site; and
  • Hospital hubs– larger hospitals across the country have been offering the vaccine to people over 80 attending for a planned appointment. Now that more local vaccination services are up and running, hospital hubs are focused on vaccinating health and care staff.

The large vaccination centre in Hastings is based, as mentioned, at Hastings Centre, where it went live on Saturday 9 January 2021 for patients at the following surgeries:

  • Beaconsfield Road Surgery
  • Carisbrooke Surgery
  • Churchwood Medical Practice
  • Harold Road Surgery
  • Hastings Old Town Surgery
  • High Glades Medical Centre
  • Priory Road Surgery
  • Sedlescombe House
  • South Saxon House Surgery
  • The Station Practice
  • Warrior Square Surgery.

One pharmacy is also providing vaccinations – Laycocks Pharmacy, in Old London Road, Ore, which began this service on 28 January.


In Bexhill the main vaccination centre is the Sidley Medical Practice (44 Turkey Road, TN39 5HE), which went live in late December for patients at the following surgeries:

  • Collington Surgery
  • Little Common Surgery
  • Pebham Surgery
  • Sidley Medical Practice

Rural Rother has its main vaccination centre at Etchingham Village Hall, which since 20 January has been serving patients at the following surgeries:

  • Fairfield Surgery
  • Ferry Road Health Centre
  • Martins Oak Surgery
  • Northiam Surgery
  • Oldwood Surgery
  • Rye Medical Centre
  • Sedlescombe and Westfield Surgeries

Ticehurst Pharmacy is also administering vaccinations from Ticehurst Village Hall.

The way in which GP vaccination services are delivered has been agreed at a national level and each area is typically allocated one GP-led vaccination site, the CCG said. “This means that patients may not receive the vaccination at their local GP practice; but instead may be invited to a different location nearby.”

Vaccination sites need to be able to accommodate large numbers of people on a daily basis (at least 300). Space is also needed for people to wait for their appointment and be monitored for a short while after receiving the jab. Sites also need to have internet access, IT and facilities to be able to carry out the vaccination safely and in line with government guidance.

Long-term access to a site is also necessary, as the vaccination programme is likely to continue for months over the course of this year.

“We have received incredible support from our communities and our partners with helpful suggestions of locations,” said the CCG. The tight criteria meant that some proposed sites were not suitable.

Travelling to vaccination sites

The CCG acknowledges that travelling to a vaccination site may be problematic for some people. They point out that “Under government guidelines a family member or friend is permitted to take a person to their COVID-19 vaccine appointment, which is classed as an exemption as it is a medical appointment (see guidance on sharing a car safely).

There are also community transport services available in Hastings, Bexhill, Battle and Rye, and voluntary lift schemes in Sedlescombe and Brede – contact details are given on the ESCC website.

“The location of the vaccination site does not mean that people will receive their vaccination any more slowly,” said the CCG. “The timing depends largely on the availability of the vaccine and the priority group they are in.”

Those in the top four priority groups – all over 70 years old, the clinically vulnerable under 70, and frontline workers – are asked to wait to be contacted, either by the national booking system or via their GP surgery.

Meanwhile the vaccination service continues to be rolled out, with new sites to be added. This coming week a centre is due to open in Eastbourne.

More information is available on the Sussex Health and Care Partnership website.


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Posted 19:10 Saturday, Jan 30, 2021 In: Covid-19


Please read our comment guidelines before posting on HOT

  1. Penny

    I’ll wait for a nearer location and a single dose, thanks.
    Travel too far and putting too many others at risk.
    The logistics must have been evolved from national information instead of using local knowledge.
    There are more essential candidates working on the front line here who should be ahead of me.

    Comment by Penny — Sunday, Jan 31, 2021 @ 23:12

  2. Andrew Colquhoun

    Well done, HOT, on getting this information out of the CCG. Can you now get them to supply hard and regular data on vaccination numbers? This is what is needed to squash unhelpful rumours. The Hastings Observer hasn’t really managed this yet

    Comment by Andrew Colquhoun — Sunday, Jan 31, 2021 @ 21:15

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