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February newsletter

Hope you are surviving well in this more than usually dismal winter and that most people over 75 will by now have had their first dose of COVID vaccine.

In this edition:-

* Next meeting

* Latest COVID and vaccination news

* Survey about GPs going into online or phone consultations

* Help with tablets, mobile phones and computers

* Fun stuff – new exercise programmes, theatre online, arts and cooking

* Park survey

* Paying your sub

Next Forum meeting 22 February

Stand by for our next meeting on Zoom – Monday 22 February at 2pm. We’ll send out the agenda a few days beforehand to those who have joined in before. The Zoom link is:-

Meeting ID for Feb 22: 931 7688 9160 Passcode: 306758

One tap mobile: +442034815240,,93176889160#,,,,*306758#

Or dial 0203 481 5240.

For any help needed with accessing the meeting from a phone please call Paulina on 0203 196 1900

COVID update – Vaccinations

Most people over 75, and certainly those over 80, should have had their first vaccine dose by now. Quite a few under 75s have been offered one already too. If you’ve missed out, contact your GP to check if some communication went wrong. Or there is now online vaccine booking available (Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination – NHS (

We’ve heard of people missing out because they didn’t open a letter. If you have a mobile phone that your GP knows about, you’ll probably get an invitation by text. Be sure any text about vaccination really is from ‘NHS-no reply’ and refers you to the NHS web site for more information. It will say ‘click to book online here’ and/or give you a landline to phone. If it’s from another address or number, and especially if it asks you for money or to send personal details, be aware it’s probably a scam! There are sadly lots of scams going round.

If you need help getting to the place to have your vaccination, the Council may be able to arrange you a lift. When booking your appointment over the phone, ask for any support you need with travel arrangements to get to the appointment. This may mean support booking a taxi or being linked in with a volunteer driver, if needed. If you book online, call your GP surgery afterwards to discuss a lift if you need it. If stuck, call Reach and Connect on 020 3196 1905.

Survey about GP consultations and booking systems going online

Healthwatch asked us to tell you about the survey they are doing to explore the impact on patients of the changes to GP services brought about by Covid and lockdown. They want to examine patient experiences of:

– contacting their GP and booking an appointment, and

– the move from face-to-face GP consultations, to phone or video consultations.

The project is focusing on 3 groups:-

1) People aged 65 or over

2) People with disabilities

3) People with language barriers, whose first language is not English.

They are looking for patients in any of these three categories who do not have smartphones or access to the internet at home. They must be patients who have tried to contact their GP and book an appointment at some time since April 2020. They would want to speak to them for about 30 minutes.

The conversations would be completely confidential. They will not name people or practices in their report. They simply want to capture people’s experiences and get some honest feedback on how they have found GP services in recent months. They are not going to ask about personal or medical issues – they are only going to ask questions about how they found contacting their GP, booking an appointment, and how they found the phone/video consultation.

The purpose of the interviews, and of this work, is to improve GP services for patients in the future. So, as lockdown continues, they want to ensure patients are able to contact their GP, book an appointment, and have a consultation that works for them.