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Welcome to the South Brent Health Centre

Update on Covid-19 Vaccinations

Dear Patient,

South Brent Health Centre joined with eight other local GP surgeries to begin delivering the Covid-19 vaccination to our patients. With only ten days’ notice and rapidly developing guidance a huge amount of work was required to get this service live.

We are very grateful to the Diocese of Plymouth for supporting us by providing a site from which our nine GP practices can deliver the campaign, whilst enabling us to continue operating our usual services in practice. 

The total patient population for the nine surgeries is approximately 75,000 and every individual is required to have two vaccines.

The scale of the campaign is like nothing we have previously experienced. 

As a result of this the vaccination programme will last for many months. It is inevitable that along with the ongoing impact of staff self-isolation, this additional workload will cause some disruption to our usual day to day services, both clinical and administrative. Whilst we will do everything we can to mitigate this we ask that you bear with us over the coming weeks and months.

Moving forward we will be contacting patients as and when we are able to offer them the vaccine. The timelines will depend on eligibility, clinical capacity and access to the vaccine. Below is the current priority list, identified by the government, which we will be following. Please do not contact the surgery to request a vaccination or query when you will become eligible. 

1 - Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
2 - All those aged 80 and over, as well as frontline health and social care workers
3 - All those aged 75 and over
4 - All those aged 70 and over, as well as clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
5 - All those aged 65 and over
- All individuals aged 16-64 with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality
- All those aged 60 and over
- All those aged 55 and over
- All those aged 50 and over

If you are interested in getting an idea as to when you may become eligible then the following calculator can give a rough indication:

Vaccine Queue Calculator for the UK (


We I would like to thank all of our staff who have worked evenings and weekends to ensure that we were able to set up our services and for those volunteers who have already stepped up to help with the running of our Covid-10 vaccination programme.


Anna Keene
Practice Manager




A difficult year – with hope for the future

A joint message from Steve Brown, director of public health Devon County Council and Dr Rob Dyer, NHS medical director for Devon

It is customary at this time of year to reflect, to look at the last 12-months – and then to look ahead.  This last year has certainly been like no other for many of us.
What we expected at the beginning of last year - the usual trials and tribulations of normal times – were suddenly and significantly turned on their head in March.

The worrying images on our TVs screens first from Wuhan in China, then Hong Kong, Russia and then closer to home in Italy, France and elsewhere in Europe, suddenly became very real.

Lockdown, facemasks, social distancing, regular handwashing, Zoom and Teams calls – just 9-months ago terms that were so unfamiliar – entered our everyday.

Many people, including those here in Devon, lost their lives. Our thoughts are with their family and friends and we send our most sincere condolences to all who have suffered the loss of a loved one.

We have always viewed health and social care staff as essential workers together with the police and fire service, however, we all soon realised, if we hadn’t before, that retail staff, lorry and bus drivers, teachers and others were essential and we celebrated and applauded them all.

We know that there were those who were isolated and lonely, who couldn’t see family as they were in care homes, who lost their jobs and whose lives now are not as they expected.

Nightingale hospitals were opened – including ours in Exeter. A range of services were established to support those who were “shielding” and we prepared to manage the emerging situation.

And then after months of lockdown, the disease made a temporary retreat, only for it to return in the Autumn for a second wave that even now remains higher than any of us would want.

In December 91-year-old grandmother Margaret Keenan became the first person in the world to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Hundreds of thousands of people in the UK have now received it and it is being  rolled out across Devon as soon as we can. The speed of programme depends on vaccine approval and supply, so please be patient – the NHS will let you know when it’s your turn.

As we look towards 2021 there is genuine belief that things are going to get better. A future where we can cuddle our grandchildren, meet our friends and relatives in their houses or at a pub, go out for an evening meal with friends. Get back to some sense of normality.

But we are by no means there yet. The recent announcement that a new fast-spreading strain of the disease has taken hold in London and the South East is a worrying development for us all – including for us here in Devon.

It will certainly be at least the spring before the vaccine has a real effect on transmission. And so, there are difficult weeks and months ahead for us all – but especially our health and care services.

January, February and March are usually the most difficult times for the NHS and caring services – but even before we enter Mid winter it’s hard. Many of our staff are very tired. Some wards are full and we have fewer beds so that we can maintain social distancing while people are in in hospital.

During the first wave we were forced to temporarily stand down many planned operations and treatments so that we could prioritise emergency and urgent cases.  We have since restarted routine surgery, taking thousands of people off waiting lists.

We are now looking at how we might reschedule some services again, in case it’s necessary to increase capacity whether that be beds or staff, for those people whose treatments cannot wait and to save lives.

We are already using Nightingale but are planning to increase capacity there if needed. Anyone who is asked to go to the Nightingale Hospital can expect equivalent care that we would all expect in Devon’s other excellent hospitals. Feedback from patients who have been in the hospital is excellent.

As before we would continue non-COVID emergency and urgent appointments. It is therefore important that if you become unwell or have an urgent but not with a COVID-related illness you seek help and attend any appointments you are asked to do. We are here to care for you in any urgent or emergency situation.

As previously, it may be that we invite you to have your treatment at a hospital or other site that you would not normally expect. We are grateful for your understanding if this were to happen to you.

But just like so many have done before, you will want to help us. How can you do this?

While cases are rising again in all ages groups in Devon and Plymouth, most concerning is rising cases in older people as it is older and more vulnerable people who are likely to suffer the most from COVID-19.

This means that it is vitally important that whatever you are doing, you continue to follow  rules. Act as if you have the virus.

Now that there is a fast-spreading variant, we cannot afford to lower our guard. It is that simple. Remember ‘Hands, Space, Face’ and do not take any risks.

Failing to follow the guidance means someone’s grandparent or mother, someone’s son or daughter could be admitted to hospital. What you do directly affects others.

So, our message to you is  Take care, think of others. And thank you.  We have come so far. Let’s now prepare for the coming few months, so we can get through them together and look ahead to a happier, healthier year ahead.


Advice on patients wearing face coverings in practices

The surgery has a legal responsibility to protect staff and patients from risks associated with COVID-19.  We have conducted our own risk assessment to determine necessary controls, and we ask that patients please apply a face covering before entering the surgery, when possible.  Wearing a face covering is an added precaution that may have some benefit in reducing the likelihood that a person with the infection passes it on. Evidence shows a face covering can help in reducing the spread of droplets; it stops them from leaving the mouth and nose area and reduces the size of area in which they spread.

A medical grade clinical mask is not necessary. These need to be prioritised to clinical staff working in high risk areas. Instead, for patients who are visiting healthcare sites, a face covering is sufficient and there is guidance for people to make these at home with items they may already own. Contaminated droplets can also be picked up from surfaces by touch and subsequently from touching the face. It is important people refrain from touching their face covering when wearing it, where possible, to avoid hand to mask transmission of the virus. Face coverings are not a replacement for social distancing. Regular hand washing remains an important action.

Please view a copy of our Face covering policy


All appointment requests for our GPs continue to be triaged over the phone or by video consultation. If the clinician feels that you need to be seen you will be invited into the surgery for a specific time slot. 


If you are asked to collect a sample pot these are available from the main reception area. Please wait in front of the barrier. The sample containers come with a sealed bag and a sample form. When you return a sample, please ensure you have added your details to the label on the container and the form is complete. It is vital that your full name and date of birth are on both the container and the form. Any samples must be pre-approved by a clinician and returned by 1pm Please do not use your own containers for samples.


All prescriptions will be issued electronically to your nominated pharmacy. You will need to order your medication. It may take 5 working days to get your prescription electronically sent and dispensed at your Pharmacy.

We would encourage everyone to try and order their repeat prescriptions using either your online account or using the NHS App (can be downloaded onto any smartphone).  We have ceased taking prescriptions requests via telephone.

We thank you for your continued support.

The South Brent Health Centre Team 




We offer ‘eConsult’ to allow patients to get medical help without making an appointment or calling the practice.

We have introduced ‘eConsult’ to help you get health advice online. By clicking on the most appropriate link below you can:

  • self-check your symptoms and find medical guidance written by doctors 24/7
  • get administrative help (e.g. a medical certificate or letter from the surgery)
  • seek medical advice from our doctors at the surgery

Please note the following important information below:

  • This is only for patients registered with our practice
  • This is only available to patients over 6 months of age
  • It is not an appropriate route to seek urgent medical help
  • It is not a bypass or shortcut for requesting routine GP appointments
  • Where a response has been requested, we aim to respond by the end of the next working day either by email (don’t forget to check your junk email folder) or with a phone call, as appropriate to your consultation
  • The eConsult tool works best for issues that we can resolve – or start to resolve – online, for example by generating a script, arranging a blood test etc. There will be some problems where the appropriate next step is for you to see or speak to a GP routinely, in which case we will advise you by email or text to make an appointment.
  • Please click on the link below to watch a short video on how eConsult can work for you





SBHC Zero Tolerance Policy

(Site updated 19/01/2021)
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