The phone rings. To my surprise, since I am not in any of the priority categories, my doctor offers me my first Covid jab in Whitby, at a very precise 08.38 in a couple of days’ time. It seems that Yorkshire, or at least this bit of it, is ahead of the national game. This being deepest darkest North Yorkshire, the Government promise, probably yet again by someone who has never been north of Stevenage (the East Coast main line equivalent of Watford), that nobody will be more than 10 miles away from a vaccination centre, has proved demonstrable nonsense. So all the local GPs have got together to organise it and sure enough, when I present myself at the Whitby Pavilion, complete with a very stormy Bram Stoker-like North Sea crashing on the beach below, despite my usual cynicism, I receive my shot in the arm at precisely 08.38, so 100% right time. Lots of space, friendly people, a mixture of professional staff and volunteers. The NHS at its best.
Thus armed (pun intended) and with support from Northern, my colleagues in the Community Rail Partnership set about contacting the five surgeries along the Esk Valley line to see what could be done to encourage people to come by train to Whitby for their jabs. The immediate response from all five practice managers, who had the task of organising recipients, was supportive.