Nearly 100 flu vaccinations were cancelled at the last moment yesterday as issues continued to plague NHS Grampian’s delivery system.
Patients due to receive a flu jab at Meldrum Academy in Aberdeenshire were told they would have to reschedule as the clinic had run out of vaccine for the second time in a matter of days.
One mother, who was due to take her son for a vaccine, said it had been tricky securing a suitable appointment in the first place as phone lines were continually engaged.
She described the system as “a bit of a mess”, adding: “We live in Aberdeenshire but my son goes to nursery in Aberdeen so we had changed our day to fit in with the appointment.
“It was cancelled a few hours before we were due to go. Luckily we hadn’t headed-off for Aberdeen to collect our son yet.”
About 300 appointments at Meldrum Academy were cancelled last week, with the same reason given by health chiefs.
The mum, who asked not to be named, added: “The woman who phoned to say it was cancelled was really apologetic and explained we could come on Friday at the same time to get it instead.”
A spokesman for NHS Grampian said of the latest delay: “Unfortunately 80 appointments at Meldrum Academy were cancelled due to a logistical issue affecting supply of the vaccine to the centre.
“The issue has been resolved and appointments will resume from Tuesday morning as planned.
“We wholeheartedly apologise to those whose appointments have been affected and would assure them they will still receive their vaccine.”
Bosses heading-up the delivery of the vaccine have vowed issues will be resolved in the next 10 days as concerns continue to be raised about a backlog of appointment letters, some of which have been delivered late.
Extra staff are working on problems with the appointment letters and the flu helpline while assisting with calls and emails.
Additional phonelines will be put in place today to address concerns over delays in getting through.
Currently, more than 40,000 people who are over 65 and at risk in the region have received their vaccine – with more than 1,500 being added to that total each day.
NHS Grampian deputy chief executive, Adam Coldwells urged people not to call the helpline if they haven’t yet received a letter as they are sent out in batches and not at the same time.
People should now start receiving appointment letters in “good time”, he said, with the next 10 days vital in getting ahead of the current problems.
He added: “No-one will miss out on their vaccine as a result of these issues – that’s very important to remember.
“We’ve been up and running for three weeks and we’ve vaccinated more than 30,000 over-65s.
“This figure doesn’t include children vaccinated at schools and health care staff.
“The teams on the ground, at the centres, are working incredibly hard to deliver the vaccine and the feedback from patients who have received it, in this new way, has been overwhelmingly positive.
“We’ve apologised for the issues and we’re working extremely hard to get back on track.
“It’s the first time we have delivered the vaccine like this and there has absolutely been teething issues and a learning curve.”
Those who receive letters in the next few days on the day of or after their appointment should call the helpline so they can be booked in again.