Ealing Council Grants LTN Exemption for Vaccine Delivery

Nurse previously had to abandon car and walk in scrubs to give jabs

LTN barriers restrict access for motor vehicles
LTN barriers restrict access for motor vehicles

A nurse has shared her relief at the news Ealing Council will be granting exemptions for NHS staff to travel through the borough’s roadblocks to deliver vaccines in the community.

Alice Samuel will be among the frontline health workers driving out to vulnerable residents to give them their jabs, but she feared it would be a logistical “nightmare” due to Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs).

The Hanwell resident was calling on the council to grant staff deliverers of the vaccine free access to pass through the road barriers, without racking up fines from the monitoring automatic number plate recognition cameras.

LTNs have been a controversial traffic scheme to promote active travel and cut pollution in the borough which have been phased in since last summer.

During the flu jab campaign around the borough, Alice said she was reversing up blocked roads and on some occasions ended up abandoning her car, to walk up to patients’ houses in full PPE, to get there in time.

“We are talking surgical scrubs, white aprons and everything walking up people’s streets,” she said.

“It’s a nightmare.”

But the main concern Alice had for this round is the vaccine must be used within six hours of being taken out of the fridge.

She said: “Either 11 patients or carers, or 11 patients can get that vaccine in that time specified, if we are having to go sit in queues in Northfields Avenue, sit in queues in Boston Road or Greenford Avenue…then we are going to be really struggling to get to those vulnerable housebound patients.

“I can see some of those vaccines are going to be destroyed if we can’t get there in time.”

But following discussions between the council and NHS, Ealing Council has confirmed it will allow unlimited travel in the borough for staff distributing the vaccine to residents.

A council spokesperson said, “The council is committed to helping critical workers such as NHS staff, carers and the emergency services travel in the borough throughout the pandemic.

“We are working with colleagues in the NHS to arrange for exemption for staff administering vaccines to housebound residents living in LTNs during the current COVID-19 emergency period.

“The NHS staff administering home visit vaccinations who are required to enter LTN sites in the borough should email Suspensions@ealing.gov.uk entering ‘Key Worker’ in the subject heading.

“They should provide their vehicle registrations in the body of the email to ensure they are registered as exempt from receiving penalty charge notices (PCNs) when entering LTN sites.”

Reacting to the arrangements, Alice said it brought “a tear to my eye” due to the relief.

She said, “It’s absolutely amazing, that is great news for everybody, we are not going to have to worry about incurring fines when we get the vaccine rollout to the housebound patients.

“I’m so happy we are working hard and it’s just nice to know we won’t be penalised for actually doing our jobs. I can’t wait to let everybody know…

“They’ll be really relieved. This was the biggest worry, how we were going to manage through all those busy streets, and that the vaccine wasn’t going to go to waste. Now [we’ll] get it delivered in time.

“It’s just this is such a relief for anybody.”

According to Alice her team are still planning for the vaccine roll out to housebound residents as they’ve received guidance from the Government.

In a meeting of the North West London (NWL) Joint Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee (JHOSC) on January 15, chief nurse Pippa Nightingale of the NWL Integrated Care System, revealed that housebound residents were the next in line to be vaccinated from this week.

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Anahita Hossein-Pour - Local Democracy Reporter

January 22, 2021