Campus's pandemic role
The county’s first large scale COVID vaccination site is at Buckinghamshire New University’s Aylesbury campus.
It is where student nurses are trained – and where it has now joined forces with the NHS and the local authority to serve the community in another essential way.
Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust is operating the new site, pictured, which starts delivering life-saving COVID jabs this week as the NHS continues to accelerate the biggest immunisation programme in its history.
The campus already has a strong track record in healthcare, offering a range of traditional degrees and apprenticeships across the health and social care field.
Bucks continues to make good progress as it works towards the Government target of ensuring all patients in the top four priority groups are offered a vaccination by mid-February.
This includes people aged 70 and over, the clinically extremely vulnerable and care home residents and staff.
Patients are being asked not to contact their GP practice to try to arrange an appointment.
Instead, eligible patients will be sent a letter inviting them to arrange their appointment via the national booking system when the time is right.
They can also use this system to arrange an appointment at one of the growing number of pharmacy-led vaccination sites in the county.
They can also, if they prefer, choose to wait for their GP practice to invite them for an appointment at one of the nine GP-led vaccination sites now operating across Bucks.
The new site will be open seven days a week, from 8am to 8pm. It will be capable of delivering thousands of jabs each week but will scale up and down, according to vaccine supplies and demand.
Parking for the vaccination site is available at the Walton Street car park, opposite the university building.
Volunteers will be on hand to ensure patients get safely from the car park to the vaccination site, which involves crossing a stretch of dual carriageway at a pedestrian light controlled crossing.
No parking or drop-off at the university campus site is allowed for pedestrian and road safety reasons.
Anyone approaching this car park from the direction of Aylesbury town centre should be aware that they need to drive past the vaccination site (on their left, heading away from town) and go around the gyratory system so that they approach the town centre again.
The Walton Street car park entrance is signposted on the left. The pay and display car park accepts cash and card.
Dr Nick Broughton, Chief Executive of Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘I am delighted that Oxford Health is playing such a critical part in the roll-out of the vaccination programme.
‘This new large-scale vaccination centre means we can deliver inoculations at pace so that thousands more people can be protected from COVID-19.
‘I would like to pay tribute to the project team, which was a true collaboration between Buckinghamshire Council and Oxford Health colleagues.
‘They have worked exceptionally hard to ensure that the vaccination centre is ready to serve the public. Our work will build on the great accomplishments already achieved in the local system.
‘Our NHS and local authority colleagues have worked … to protect priority patients as well as health and social care staff.’
Professor Nick Braisby, Vice-Chancellor of Buckinghamshire New University, said: ‘We’re incredibly proud to be hosting a mass vaccination site at our Aylesbury campus that serves our local communities and helps stop the spread of COVID-19.
‘Our testing centre at the High Wycombe campus continues to play a vital role in keeping residents safe, while our healthcare staff and students are helping to save lives on the front line.
‘We are doing everything possible to help Buckinghamshire fight this pandemic and progress towards a normal way of living again.’
Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghamshire Council, said: ‘The opening of this large-scale vaccination site is fantastic news for residents, and we are grateful to Buckinghamshire New University, Oxford Health … and so many volunteers for their invaluable support.
‘The county’s vaccination capacity has increased enormously in recent weeks, with several options now available for residents. If you are in one of the top priority groups and are awaiting your vaccination, it won’t be long now.
‘I would urge anyone who is invited to get a vaccine to please arrange an appointment as soon as possible. Vaccinations are our only way out of this pandemic and back to the more normal way of life we are all so eager to return to.’