Hospital hub on course to complete vaccinations by June

Chris Cobb, chief operating officer at the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital. Pic: Archant

Chris Cobb, chief operating officer at the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital. Pic: Archant - Credit: Archant

A Norfolk hospital is on course to finish its vaccination programme by the start of summer, having already distributed more than 50,000 jabs. 

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital was one of the first vaccination hubs announced by the government to open in December and unless asked to vaccinate any further cohorts, may not be needed from June 6.

Chris Cobb, chief operating officer, told a meeting of the trust's board it was the current thinking the hub would not be needed past the summer.

As of Tuesday, the hospital has carried out 50,000 vaccinations, of those, 32,000 are first doses and 18,000 second doses. 

Mr Cobb said: "There are still 14,000 NHS staff, care workers and over 80s to get through before we can close down the unit. 

"The hospital vaccination hub on 6th June will have completed, we hope, all of the 2nd doses of all the cohorts that we were asked to vaccinate. 

"If everything runs according to plan and nobody asks us to pick up anything in cohort 10, we will essentially run out of people to vaccinate in the hospital hub.

"That's not to say we won't be helping across Norfolk in some of the delivery of vaccination elsewhere but the hospital's role according to current thinking will come to an end on that date."

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The trust had been at the local Covid state five, the highest of the stages, for two months running from December 18 to February 18.

As of Wednesday, the hospital has fallen to state 1, which means localised restrictions had been removed and the first step to returning to "business as usual".

The hospital is treating two Covid positive patients, of which one is in critical care.  A further 39 patients in the hospital that have had Covid. 

Last week, chief executive Sam Higginson told this paper of the challenges now awaiting the trust to tackle its 60,000 strong waiting list.

The matter was further discussed at the board where Mr Cobb said echoed the chief executive of the immense challenge to reduce the list, which stood at 62,700. 

The hospital's priority is to treat cancer patients and those who needed to be seen within 28 days.

He told the meeting that breast cancer screening numbers had "turned a corner" since November through to end of January when there was a struggle to get patients seen  - though not yet where the hospital wanted it to be.