Covid jab centre shuts weeks after opening due to hundreds of ‘ghost patients’

A Covid vaccination centre capable of delivering 2,000 jabs a day has been mothballed just weeks after opening, it's claimed.

The Ravenscraig Sports Centre in Motherwell, Scotland, has been reportedly blighted by so called ‘ghost patients’ with hundreds of people failing to turn up to get the Covid-19 jab.

It will now only open at weekends or if the demand increases, the Daily Record reports.

The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards were drafted in last month to open the facility before handing it over to the NHS at the weekend.

But an insider who has worked at a number of vaccination centres, including Ravenscraig, claims the centre was closed after less than 250 people turned up on Monday.

They claimed the situation was an “absolute shambles” with soldiers sent away as they had nothing to do while NHS staff sat around idle.

The source claimed: “We were all told that one of the largest mass vaccination centres at Ravenscraig sports centre in Motherwell will be closed. This is because the appointments aren’t being filled.

“The army was brought in to give out the vaccinations and on Monday, half of them were sent away because there weren’t enough people to vaccinate."

They added: “I volunteered to help make a difference but this frustrates me and the other volunteers and workers.

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“Seeing such a massive vaccination centre empty with so many nurses and volunteers sitting around doing nothing is heartbreaking.

“We have also witnessed some doses of the vaccine being binned at the end of the day because not all the vaccines are being used in some vials. What a complete utter waste."

Dr Mark Russell, Lead for the Covid-19 Vaccination Programme in Lanarkshire stated: “Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility was always part of NHS Lanarkshire’s plan for the delivery of the Covid-19 vaccine.

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“This was originally going to be later in the programme. However, we brought forward using the facility on a temporary basis to assist with the national drive to vaccinate people as quickly as possible.

“It is still part of our plan and will be used when we need the extra capacity – for example, at weekends. Currently, our communities are choosing to attend their local community vaccination centres.”

He insisted: “We have processes in place to make sure vaccine wastage is kept to a minimum. This includes moving vaccine between clinics, where possible. On Sunday no doses were disposed of and on Monday we had to dispose of two doses.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said the Government was “aware that NHS Lanarkshire are exploring how to increase the capacity of vaccinations taking place at Ravenscraig and will provide them with any support required”.

She added: “We have been clear we expect health boards to minimise wasted doses of vaccine, and have provided them with best practice advice on how to achieve this. However, some wastage is unavoidable for a variety of reasons based on the characteristics of the vaccine, logistical issues with cold chain supply, storage failure or specific clinical situations.”

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