The VeinCare Centre Response to COVID-19

A Personal Message from Dr Haroun Gajraj

31st May, 2020

Your safety and that of The VeinCare Centre staff are always my top priority.

My wife, Jane, and I are the directors of The VeinCare Centre and we take our responsibilities very seriously. For us it was an easy decision to close on Friday 20th March, before the lockdown was announced by the government.

Lots of positive things have happened in the last 2 weeks.

The number of new cases of Covid-19 and the Coronavirus death toll both continue to fall.

From tomorrow, schools can reopen and up to six people can meet outdoors. It will be so nice to meet up with people! At yesterday’s UK government’s daily briefing it was announced that competitive sport will be allowed behind closed doors in England from tomorrow, Monday 1st June.
Other important and optimistic signs that we are over the worst of the Coronavirus Pandemic are that we now have the first effective anti-viral treatment, that the NHS Test and Trace system has started in England and that it is just possible that a vaccine may become available later this year.

In the light of all of these developments, I am pleased to tell you that the VeinCare Team has decided to reopen to patients on 1st September and that you will be able to book appointments from mid-August. I will announce details of how this will work  next month.

You may be wondering “Why not sooner?” –  after all, the Southwest of England has one of the lowest number of new cases of COVID-19 in England and the lowest prevalence of the virus (infected people per 100,000).

Well, firstly, only 7% of the population has had the virus, which means that over 90% of us are still susceptible and, secondly, there are currently approximately 8,000 new cases of COVID-19 every day. On Thursday, Boris Johnson confirmed the relaxing of lockdown. At the same televised briefing, the PM’s chief science advisor, Sir Patrick Vallance, warned there was “not a lot of room” for manoeuvre and the data “urges caution”.

My team and I do not claim to know the answers – this is uncharted territory for everyone –  and we are not critical of other clinics that have decided to reopen much earlier. Every individual who is responsible for the safety of patients and staff in private clinics must make his or her own judgement about the risks. Although many businesses can now reopen, every business must balance the risks and benefits.

As the Managing Director of The VeinCare Centre, I have come to the judgement that we should exercise caution and wait a bit longer in order that the NHS Test and Trace system is fully operational. In addition, this gives us more time to embed and rehearse our new enhanced infection prevention procedures in time to reopen again on 1st September. The VeinCare Team and I have discussed this collaboratively and we are all in agreement. My team and I continue to consult with our colleagues about the best procedures and protocols to ensure your safety and the safety of the healthcare team. More of this in future emails.

We will reopen our clinic in North Dorset, The Veincare Centre at the Melbury ClinicOur Ringwood Clinic will remain closed for the time being. I am very sorry that patients who had appointments in Ringwood and those who were hoping to be seen in Ringwood will have to consider travelling to Holt Mill from September. It is unlikely that we will reopen our Ringwood Clinic until January 2021 at the earliest.

Unfortunately, the location of the Ringwood Clinic (on the high street, without dedicated parking) and the internal layout of the Ringwood Clinic (small waiting area and narrow corridors) are not consistent with the enhanced infection prevention procedures that we will put into operation in September. We will continue to review our services at Ringwood and in the meantime, I have removed Ringwood from the website, at least temporarily. I will keep you advised of developments.

I plan to write again in 4 weeks at the end of June with information about how you can make appointments. In the meantime, I hope you, your family and friends all the very best.

Keep well and safe.”

Dr Haroun Gajraj