Retired Keele GPs return to practice to administer Covid-19 vaccine

Two former doctors from Keele University’s School of Medicine have come out of retirement to contribute to the national Covid-19 vaccination roll-out.

Dr Vincent Cooper and Dr Simon Somerville, former GPs and Honorary Senior Lecturers from Keele’s School of Medicine, are playing their part to help the local Covid-19 vaccination efforts by volunteering to administer the vaccine at their former practices.

Dr Cooper, who retired from practice in 2008, volunteered his services to his former surgery at Waterhouses in the Staffordshire Moorlands in December when the opportunity arose for him to get involved. Dr Cooper completed the NHS training modules and commenced work as a volunteer before Christmas, prior to new legislation which permits retired GPs to take a full part in administering the vaccines.

Dr Cooper now works from a vaccination centre located at the JCB factory in Cheadle, as well as travelling around the community to vaccinate vulnerable and elderly patients in their own homes.

‌Also offering his services, Dr Somerville continued as a locum GP after leaving his surgery and has continued to support practices throughout the pandemic by delivering GP appointments. Dr Somerville is now working as a medic on the Novovax vaccine trial at Cheadle Hospital, as well as administering the vaccine at his former practice in Leek.

Dr Simon Somerville and Sister Lynn Storer at a vaccination clinic

Dr Cooper said: “Covid-19 has placed a huge extra strain on general practice, and, like other retired GPs, I would have liked to help from the start, but licensing restrictions and my age-related risk ruled me out. News of the vaccination programme and the massive extra task for practices brought an opportunity to contribute and I knew that my familiarity with the practice and with many patients would be an asset.

“As expected, this is a really rewarding and thoroughly enjoyable experience - it is a privilege to work with such a great team and a joy to be able to do something positive for my local community.”

Dr Somerville added: “Volunteering to help in a crisis is part of being a member of the NHS family.”