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Asthma patients under control will not be prioritised for the COVID-19 vaccine - appointments cancelled 

Last week the government announced that all asthma patients regularly using a steroid-inhaler were eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination. Following a search of our computerised medical records we were able to send a text messages to these patients offering the vaccine, and many have already booked an appointment for a vaccination.

The government has now updated their guidance to make it clear that only patients with severe asthma are eligible for vaccination at this time, ahead of their peers. The confusion has arisen because the effect of COVID-19 infection in people with asthma has been reviewed. People with non-severe asthma are considered by the NHS to be at increased risk from COVID-19, but there is no evidence they are at greater risk of dying from the virus. The government’s stated priority is to "prevent deaths and protect health and care staff, with old age deemed the single biggest factor determining mortality” and therefore provide vaccines to the most vulnerable. 

People considered to have severe asthma are those who are formally shielding and those taking steroid tablets continuously or requiring repeated courses to control their symptoms. It also includes patients who have previously had an emergency hospital admission for treatment of an exacerbation of their asthma - this has caused confusion as it does not include a time scale, unlike the previously accepted definition of severe asthma, i.e. those who have required acute hospital treatment during the last 12 months, and as a result many patients whose asthma has been well controlled for many years find themselves defined as severe and eligible for the vaccine. All other patients with asthma that is under control are not eligible at this time and we have had to contact them again advising them their vaccination appointment has been cancelled.

We apologise for this change, which is outside our control, and we appreciate patients' disappointment. Fortunately the pace of vaccination means that no one should have to wait too long to be offered the vaccine. Patients who have had their appointment cancelled, but for one of the above reasons are eligible to receive the vaccine at this time will be re-booked, but they should not attend for their original appointment as this has been cancelled.  

Flu vaccination is highly recommended for all but the mildest asthma patients, and this is still available

Health Centre limited access 3rd and 4th March

We’re reaching the final stages of the Health Centre development and it’s now time to start work on the front of the building. To do this safely we are planning to close access via the front of the building on Wednesday 3rd March and Thursday 4th March. During these two days we will only be able to see patients with urgent medical problems but we will continue to triage as currently. All non-urgent problems will be deferred to another day.  If access the Health Centre is advised instructions will be given how to do this safely. All areas will be clearly signed.  Prescription collection from the dispensary will also be limited so unless you have run out of medication please do not collect your medication during these days. 


Staff at the health centre are actively involved in the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine. The government has targeted the vaccination of everyone in the 9 most vulnerable groups by the end of April, and all adults by later in the year. This is a massive undertaking, and in common with all practices we are trying to juggle the need to focus on vaccinations, whilst ensuring we also provide essential care for our patients. 

It is important that patients continue to contact us if they are concerned symptoms may be due an underlying serious health problem, including cancer. We are attempting to keep footfall within the Health Centre to a minimum for the safety of staff and patients, and all requests are therefore initially triaged by phone by a GP or nurse. This is not a filtering process, but represents an advanced way of working to enable us deal with health concerns more efficiently, often without face to face consultation, but where necessary patients will be asked to attend the Health Centre for assessment. We have cut back on a lot of our routine work so that we can prioritise preventative work, including childhood vaccinations, cervical screening, and management of patients with new or worrying symptoms.

We ask for your support in only contacting us for urgent clinical problems or symptoms that are concerning you. We will review this in line with government review of lockdown, but ask for your support and help in only contacting us when absolutely necessary.

COVID-19 vaccination clinics - updated 24/2/21

Wednesday 24/2/21

We are now working to the latest government target, for everyone aged 50 and over to be offered the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of April. The vaccine is safe and very effective, and the eventual aim is for all adults to receive two doses of the vaccine by the end of the summer.

Groups 1-4 - book using NHS booking centre or via GP

Everyone aged 70 and above, and those are shielding due to extreme clinical vulnerability have been offered their first COVID-19 vaccination. If you have not yet responded please book an appointment now  - contact the NHS booking line 119, book online here or telephone the Health Centre.

Group 5 - book using NHS booking centre

To enable practices to focus on the vaccination of patients aged 16-64 who are clinically vulnerable (and to make best use of local vaccination service capacity) we are requesting that patients over 65 use the National Booking Service to book a COVID-19 vaccination. In order to avoid a delay please book your vaccination now via or by calling 119. Appointments are available this weekend across the region. The latest large vaccination centre to open is at Alderly Park, former home of AstraZenaca - what a fitting place to receive your COVID-19 vaccination!

Group 6 - book direct with Primary Care Network

People in group 6 (those aged 16-64 with underlying health conditions that makes them more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection) are being invited by their GP to attend their local Primary Care Centre vaccination centre for an appointment.

Text messages have been sent to all patients in this group for whom we have mobile numbers - all available appointments for the first two clinics at Congleton Town Hall, on Friday 26th February and Saturday 27th February, were booked within 50 minutes of delivery! More clinic dates will be announced when we have further guaranteed deliveries of vaccine.

If we do not have a mobile number for you we will contact you by phone or letter, but this process is inevitably slower and time consuming for staff. Texting is the preferred method of choice - please contact the Health Centre if we do not have your mobile number or if you have previously opted out of receiving text messages.  Booking details are contained in the text message, and will be explained in phone calls or letters to patients. 

The Primary Care Network achieved the government's target of offering vaccination to everyone in groups 1-4 of the most vulnerable people by 15th February, and we are all keen to offer the vaccine to people in group 6. The rate of vaccination is entirely dependant on the supply of vaccine which is somewhat erratic at present. During the next month not only do we need to give people in group 6 their first vaccine, but also administer the second vaccination to those who received their first dose in January. 

We will try to update you via text, phone or letter if it becomes apparent you are in an eligible group but not yet had your vaccination. Please ensure we have your up to date contact details so that we can notify you - if not, please email the practice with your details using this feedback form. We remain totally dependant on the availability of vaccine supplies, but working collaboratively with the Congleton practices has enabled us to provide a very efficient and rapid vaccination service, with the only rate limiting step being the amount of vaccine in our fridges. 

Vaccine availability is not a problem for the larger vaccine centres and pharmacies set up by the government, and because their supplies are guaranteed they can book appointments for both the first and second vaccine doses. This makes the larger vaccination centres a very attractive route for many patients, despite the greater travel distances. However, the larger vaccination centres are currently only vaccinating patients aged 70 and above, who have received an invitation letter. To arrange an appointment at one of the larger vaccination centres you can book online here or call 119. You will be asked your 10 digit NHS number - this will be on your invitation letter, but you can still book an appointment if you do not know your NHS number.

Link to news

Link to latest COVID-19 update

COVID-19 vaccinations -key information 

  • The COVID-19 vaccination programme is being organised centrally by NHS England and co-ordinated locally by our Primary Care Network
  • The vaccination is being offered to the most vulnerable patients first - currently groups 1 to 6. You will be notified by NHS England by letter when you are eligible to receive your first vaccination
  • Everyone aged 70 and above, and those are shielding due to extreme clinical vulnerability have been offered their first COVID-19 vaccination. If you have not yet responded please book an appointment now  - contact the NHS booking line 119, book online here or telephone the Health Centre.

  • All people aged 65 to 69 are now being contacted by letter by NHS England inviting them to book an appointment at one of the larger vaccination centres or designated pharmacies. If you have received an invitation letter, find your nearest vaccination site and book an appointment through the national online booking service by clicking here or call 119.
  • Patients aged 16 to 64 who have significant chronic health problems that places them at higher risk are being contacted by their GP practice with details of how to book an appointment. The vaccination centre for Holmes Chapel Health Centre patients in this group is Congleton Town Hall, 7 High Street, Congleton CW12 1BN
  • The second dose of vaccine will be given after an interval of 10-12 weeks. To help protect all patients, and ease the demands on hospitals we need to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible, and delaying the second dose increases the number of people who can benefit from the vaccine. 

COVID-19 Information for patients

You need to self isolate if you have any of the following symptoms;

New continuous cough

A temperature of 37.8 or above

A loss/change of sense of smell or taste

Please do not attend the practice if you suspect you may have COVID-19 infection, either because you have symptoms (cough, fever, loss of taste or smell), have tested positive for COVID-19, or if you have been in contact with someone who has suspected COVID-19 infection or tested positive for COVID-19. If you need medical assistance whilst you suspect you may have COVID-19 infection please ensure you inform the receptionist, doctor or nurse by telephone that you are potentially infectious.

Patients suffering from possible COVID-19 infection cannot be seen at the Health Centre due to the risk to staff and other patients. Instead they will be provided with an appointment at the nearest 'Hot Hub' where fully protected medical staff will be better placed to assess patients. 

For the latest information about COVID-19 visit

Holmes Chapel Health Centre general information

‘Our aim is to provide the best possible health care for you and your family.’ Our practice is classified as semi-rural, based in a purpose built health centre in the heart of the community in Holmes Chapel.

We have a growing practice population, currently around 12,300 patients, served by an extended Primary Health Care Team including doctors, practice and community nurses, reception staff, physiotherapists and health visitors. We are part of the Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group .


Our aims here at Holmes Chapel Health Centre remain:


Safe, Effective Care for our Patients.

Remaining resilient in terms of our staffing to be able to remain open and provide our services.

We are in a unique period of time: facing an uncertain challenge and we will do all we can to support our patients.

The Friends and Family Test - How likely are you to recommend our GP practice to friends and family if they need similar care or treatment?

(Site updated 24/02/2021)
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