Fife mum's anger at vaccine appointment delay for daughter with learning disability
A Fife mum has vented her anger and frustration over the delay, and lack of response, in trying to secure a Covid vaccination appointment for her daughter who has a learning disability.
Sandra Bald, from Aberdour, has been trying for over a month to get an appointment for her teenage daughter, Alexandra, who has Down’s Syndrome.
Her 16-year-old’s condition is classed as a learning disability, and, according to the UK government’s vaccine advisory committee, all people on the GP Learning Disability Register should now be invited for a vaccine as part of priority group six.
Since February 26 she has made over 11 telephone calls, filled in three forms and sent countless emails to both NHS Fife and the Scottish Government – but said she was passed from ‘place to place’ with no-one able to help.
However, on Tuesday she finally had a telephone call from NHS Fife confirming an appointment for her daughter’s first covid vaccine.She welcomed the response, but said it shouldn’t have taken such an effort to secure it
She said: “After weeks of constant phone calls and emails it finally paid off and I received a call from NHS Fife offering an appointment for Alexandra.
"The biggest stress has been the bureaucracy in trying to find out where she is on the list.
"My husband called the national Scottish Covid helpline, and he was on the phone for 45 minutes -I have had that with every phone call.
"I am a patient person and I know this is a massive undertaking for the country, but there has been no-one willing to take responsibility and sort it out for me.
"During the first eight calls I was told they had no record of Alexandra on their system, which I challenged.
"Then they said I needed to complete a form which I have done three times. On one occasion I was told an appointment had been booked and we had declined it – yet I never received the invite!”
She continued: “I was so worried about my daughter not having the vaccination because people with learning disabilities are six times more likely to die if they get Covid.”
Sandra added: “I am really pleased we have an appointment but it shouldn’t have had to take all those phone calls and emails to get it sorted.”
NHS Fife said it is unable to comment on individual cases due to patient confidentiality.
A spokesperson said: "Appointments in Fife, like many other boards in Scotland, are issued using the National Scheduling Tool and work is ongoing at a national level to identify adults with learning disabilities as part of the next phase of the national vaccination programme.
"It is expected individuals in this category should receive notification of their appointment by mid-April and we will work with those with complex needs and their carers to ensure they get vaccinated.
"An option to self-refer will also be offered for anyone not identified to minimise unnecessary delays.”
The spokesman asked for the continued patience of locals: “The programme continues to move at a significant pace and we will continue to vaccinate local people as quickly as the supply of vaccine allows.”