12 Feb 2021

Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, visited the St Helens Saints stadium virtually today to see first-hand the efforts of those involved in delivering of Covid vaccinations and say thank you for their efforts.

Mr Shapps took part in a video call to thank the team behind the vaccination clinics at the Saints stadium - both the GP-led clinic on the ground floor and the mass vaccination centre that is run by St Helens and Knowsley Hospitals NHS Trust on the first floor. 

He saw a walk through of how the GP-led vaccination clinic is operating and spoke with local GP and vaccination roll out lead, Dr Hilary Flett, as well as nurse vaccinators Tracy McLoughlin and Debbie Larty; Tracy Dickinson , a volunteer from Halton and St Helens VCA as well as those managing operations behind the scenes and Mike Rush, Chief Executive of Saints to hear how the vaccine delivery in St Helens has been a team effort across the borough and how more than 80% of all those in the eligible cohorts have now received their vaccinations - over 25,000 residents.

Mr Shapps said: "Throughout this pandemic, our transport heroes have been at the frontline of keeping the country moving. Now they are stepping up yet again to help deliver the vaccinations, and get people to vaccination centres, helping us fight back from Covid-19.

“We also owe a huge debt of gratitude to the medical staff, workers and volunteers in St Helens, supporting people to get their vital jabs. I urge everyone aged 70 and over who hasn’t yet had a vaccination to come forward and contact the NHS to get their jab."

Dr Flett said: “We were pleased to have the opportunity to speak to the Transport Secretary today and very much enjoyed meeting with him virtually.  We hope that this gave him and his department a flavour of the benefits our population is reaping as a result of the huge amount of integrated working we are doing in St Helens across our health, social care and voluntary sector partners.

“Our 33 GP practices, NHS St Helens CCG, St Helens and Knowsley Hospitals Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, St Helens Borough Council, Halton and St Helens Voluntary Community Action and of course Saints RLFC have made the vaccination programmes not only possible, but a tremendous success of which we are all extremely proud.  Integration and community working is the key to transformation, something we realised in our borough some time ago in financially challenging times.  We have now extended an invitation to Mr Shapps to visit our borough in person once Covid restrictions allow.”