Pete Horrocks, Superintendent Pharmacist, Knights Pharmacy and Sarah Westgarth, Practice Manager, Station View Medical Centre were invited to a special reception held at No 10 Downing Street to thank NHS workers.
Knights Pharmacy, who currently run four vaccination centres across the country, opened their Bishop Auckland clinic next door to Station View Medical Centre in January 2021 and have now given over 30,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Working in collaboration with the Primary Care Network (PCN) the clinic has targeted the local population to offer convenient times and availability, to as many people as possible, and as a result increased the uptake of vaccines locally.
During the first wave of the pandemic the team at Station View Medical Centre suffered a great loss when Dr Poornima Nair became the first female GP to die from coronavirus.
Practice Manager Sarah Westgarth said, “Losing Dr Nair last year was a huge shock to the practice. It has given every member of our team a great passion to fight against COVID in her memory.”
Superintendent Pharmacist Pete Horrocks said: “It was a great honour to be recognised for the work we have done.
“There were less than 20 colleagues from across the NHS including nurses and doctors and I was the only pharmacist.
“The Prime Minister thanked all NHS workers, acknowledging their own personal challenges, and described his own COVID fight and the gratitude he felt for the treatment he received.”
Each guest was invited to introduce themselves directly to the Prime Minister and was encouraged to give their own personal story of how they had contributed to the pandemic response. The Prime Minister heard real life stories of how NHS colleagues and patients had fought against COVID and showed great empathy for what he was hearing.
“It was great to meet the Prime Minister face to face and hear him speaking so openly and taking an individual interest in everybody who had attended,” added Pete.
“He hosted the event with equal amounts of compassion, thanks and humour. I will never forget this recognition from the PM – I am so proud to help the NHS in its response to the pandemic”.
Writing on his Twitter account the Prime Minister announced, “I was delighted to welcome NHS staff from across the UK to Downing Street yesterday.
” I know how tough the pandemic has been on our NHS, but I want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart. We wouldn’t be where we are today without you.”
Bishop Auckland MP, Dehenna Davison, met up with Sarah and Pete before the Prime Minister’s reception to hear about recent progress.
The Bishop Auckland MP said, “I’ve visited both Sarah and Pete at their practices this year.
“Their dedication is incredible, I am so proud that the Prime Minister has recognised the achievements that are happening here in Bishop Auckland.”