MEDICAL practices in Helensburgh and Lomond have voiced their disappointment at the decision to strip them – and most GP practices across Argyll and Bute – of the job of administering Covid booster vaccinations.

The Argyll and Bute health and social care partnership (HSCP) has decided to organise the booster jags itself – even though local practices, which were entrusted with the job of giving people their first and second doses, said they were willing to take on the task of booster vaccinations too.

And it remains unclear where people living in Helensburgh and Lomond – who were able to attend their local surgery or community vaccination clinics to receive their first and second doses – who are eligible for a booster third dose will have to go to receive it.

Medical practices in Helensburgh, Kilcreggan and Arrochar all voiced their disappointment that they would not be able to offer the booster vaccine to local patients.

In a statement posted on social media the Millig Practice in Helensburgh said: “The practice has been running a very successful Covid vaccination campaign but the health board has taken the decision to carry out future appointments and not local practices.

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“We are disappointed we won’t be offering this service to our patients.”

In a similar statement, also on social media, a spokesperson for Kilcreggan Medical Centre said: “Well, we have some sad news. Despite our offering to undertake the Covid boosters for our patients the health board have taken the decision to manage these centrally. The only exceptions made have been for the island practices.

“I cannot make it plainer that we had fully offered our services to carry out this essential work locally and this decision has not come from the practice.”

And a spokesperson for the GP surgery in Arrochar said: “The Arrochar surgery had hoped to deliver the Covid-19 booster vaccine programme to eligible patients but this has been taken out of our hands.”

The Advertiser asked the HSCP to explain the reason for its decision, and for details of where people in Helensburgh and Lomond who are eligible for a booster might have to go to receive it - and when.

A spokesman for Argyll and Bute HSCP said: "Similar to all other health boards in Scotland, Argyll and Bute HSCP has been working to develop a local vaccination team for a number of years.

"This team now has the capacity to undertake the COVID-booster programme in A&B, with the exception of a small number of islands.

"The entire health and care system is under a considerable degree of pressure. The HSCP felt that the best way of balancing the delivery of the vaccination programme in this context was for the practices to offer the flu vaccine to their patients, and for the board to deliver the COVID-booster in most areas.

"The board is extremely grateful to all practices for their support of the programme so far."

As of Monday, 98.3 per cent of Argyll and Bute residents aged 16 or over had received their first dose, and 90.1 per cent had received their second – well ahead of the rate for Scotland as a whole.