Residents can feel safe attending their coronavirus vaccination appointments thanks to the efforts of highways teams tackling the wintry conditions.
The North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum (NYLRF), which represents the county’s key agencies tackling the virus, is ensuring roads and pavements around vaccine centres are gritted.
Heavy snowfall and widespread ice was prevalent in parts of the county during vaccination clinics last weekend. In the last few days Storm Christoph has brought significant rainfall which is expected to turn to ice when sub-zero temperatures return towards next weekend.
North Yorkshire County Council has been working with partners at North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (NYCCG), district councils and farming contractors to adapt its gritting routes while the sites are operational.
Karl Battersby, Corporate Director of Business and Environmental Services, said: “With more vaccination centres opening our priority is to make sure residents can attend their appointments. When gritting is required we continue to treat the county’s priority routes, but are diverting resources to vaccination and testing sites.
“Following significant snowfall last week our teams were out in force treating unclassified roads near the sites, as well as car parks and footpaths. This winter has provided some very challenging conditions so far. It has been a great coordinated effort so I would like to thank all partners involved.”
NHS North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Governing Body Member, Dr Bruce Willoughby, Clinical Lead for Integrated and Community Care, said: “Many of the people attending the GP-led vaccination clinics in North Yorkshire are elderly and frail and at greater risk of trips and falls. Ensuring their safety when they arrive for their jabs has been at the forefront of our minds, particularly during the recent spells of snow and ice.
“The support of the County Council highways teams has been vital in ensuring roads and pavements around the vaccination centres are safe and clinics can go ahead. I also want to thank GP practice staff and the teams of volunteers who are escorting people safely from their cars into the centres.”
The vaccination clinic at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate was moved from Saturday to Sunday due to the snow and icy conditions. Highways teams worked around the clock ensuring the site and its surroundings were safe for the public to access.
NHS North Yorkshire CCG Chief Nurse, Sue Peckitt, added: “We are working with our partners to monitor the weather forecast and if snow and ice are predicted we are being supported by our local authority and wider partners to ensure roads and pavements around the vaccination centres are treated and safe.
“In instances where it’s not possible to clear away snow and ice before vaccination clinics get under way, we may need to take the decision to postpone the clinics, even though we acknowledge the inconvenience this will cause.
“What we don’t want is people attending our vaccination clinics to have their jabs, only to slip over on the ice and sustain an injury.”