Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update, Vaccine Information and Helpful Resources Find out more

TV doctor praises Beacon House after successful vaccination programme

All residents at Beacon House, a residential service for adults with learning disabilities in Wibsey, Bradford, received their first vaccinations last week – thanks to TV GP Dr Amir Khan.

Dr Khan, best known for appearing in GPs: Behind Closed Doors, visited Beacon House in Bradford, to deliver the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to 10 residents. Another six residents were able to have their jab at their local GP surgery.

Afterwards, Dr Khan tweeted a picture of the visit and said: “The awesome care staff at the care home I went to, they were incredible with the residents, making them feel comfortable enough to have the vaccine. Plus, they’ve all had their vaccines too!”

Jeff Firth, the registered manager of Beacon House, expressed his gratitude to Dr Khan, and to Cygnet staff and residents. He said: “The vaccination programme in services like ours can be daunting. Some residents can have challenging behaviours and complex needs associated with a learning disability and might also have a phobia of needles. There are also risks of people hitting out, so all these challenges need to be taken into consideration, and the process handled very sensitively.”

Describing how the team responded, Jeff said: “In the weeks running up to Dr Khan’s visit, we collaborated closely with his practice and had meetings that also involved the families of residents and advocates. On the day, we arranged for staff members to stay with them to provide a familiar face and to make sure they felt supported and reassured while they were given the jab.”

Jeff added: “Dr Khan visited each resident individually and because of his efforts and all the preparation work, the whole vaccination process ran very smoothly, with no upsets. I cannot thank everyone enough, including the residents, for their understanding and support to make sure that what was a moment of high anxiety was a positive experience.”

Dr Khan is a GP at the local health centre, The Ridge Medical Practice, and has appeared on TV to promote the vaccine. He is also an author and a TV commentator.
Jeff added: “For me, the biggest factor of having all the residents and staff vaccinated is that there is now some light at the end of the tunnel, where we have completed the first step of being able to return to normality.”

Although the Covid-19 restrictions have had a major impact on residents, staff have worked hard to adapt the service, Jeff explained. “During lockdown, residents have obviously not been able to do all the activities that were part of their normal routine, and for people with learning disabilities, this can be hard to understand. It is difficult to explain to someone who is used to going to the shops or to a café, where they really look forward to those outings, why they can no longer go.

“What we’ve tried to do is bring those activities to the residents into Beacon House. Where they might have once visited a café, we set up a smoothie bar, and when their social activities outside stopped, we organised themed parties inside Beacon House so that they still feel included and have plenty to do. The next one is to mark St Patrick’s Day, and there’s another planned for Easter.

Jeff added: “Although the pandemic has been very difficult, I’m so proud of how everyone has supported each other. It’s times like this that makes our job so worthwhile.”

Share this article