Blyth GP practice targeted by thieves for second time in a week

Frontline staff in the fight against Covid have been left demoralised after being targeted by thieves again.

Railway Medical Practice receptionist Joan Angus surveys the damaged tent.
Railway Medical Practice receptionist Joan Angus surveys the damaged tent.

Railway Medical Group, in Blyth, has been targeted by thieves for the fourth time in a matter of months, and just days after the previous theft.

The latest incident at the GP practice’s Covid-19 vaccination tent took place overnight on Thursday, November 4 and into November 5.

Thieves are believed to have managed to get underneath fencing surrounding the tent, slashed their way inside before stealing an industrial heater used to keep patients warm in the 15 minute observation period after having their vaccination.

Chris Watson, managing partner at Railway Medical Group, said: “This is completely demoralising for all the staff at Railway Medical Group who have spent an endless amount of time and effort since December last year undertaking first and second doses and now booster Covid doses for residents of Blyth.”

His colleague Joan Angus said: “In the whole year we’ve been holding our Covid vaccination clinics we’ve had nothing but positive feedback from our patients.

“Within a week we’ve experienced two major thefts which has affected the day to day running of our clinics.

"Fortunately our patients have been very understanding and disgusted at the mindless acts of vandalism and thefts.

"The staff are determined we will not be beaten by this and strive to provide our patients with the upmost respect and quality of care which they deserve.”

All planned appointments on November 5 still went ahead, with patients being provided a hot drink while sitting in the tent.

The incident came a week after thieves broke into the same tent and drained the generator, used to power two portable cabins and heaters, of diesel.

It is now the fourth time in a few months the practice in Gatacre Street has been targeted by thieves after someone stole a power cable from the generator and a radio from inside the tent.

One practice patient, who asked not to be named, said: “It is just so despicable and sad for this to have happened yet again.

"Somebody, somewhere must know something about this, and I urge them to do the right thing.

"They are putting untold pressure on the staff at Railway Medical Group, and costing time for people who need the vaccines.

“Railway Medical Group have done a fantastic job with their Vaccine Programme, helping to protect the people of Blyth from this disease.

"These thieves should be absolutely ashamed of themselves!”

Chris is still encouraging people to get their Covid vaccination or booster jabs.

He said: “We’re trying to get as many people vaccinated as possible. If people want to get the vaccination then they can contact us, they don’t need to be registered here.”