Shutterstock 1780059485 Web

At yesterday’s NHS Fife Board meeting a commitment was made to continue to address the backlog of appointment requests and learn from this experience for future eligible groups and help inform planning for the anticipated COVID-19 vaccine.

NHS Fife wants to assure all those waiting for an appointment that there is more than sufficient vaccine to go round and is committed to restoring public confidence in our ability to deliver our flu vaccination programme across Fife this year. Since our programme started our team has administered over 6,000 flu vaccinations to date.

In order to address the backlog we need to ask those who have received a letter to remain patient and allow us until the end of next week to deal with the backlog of calls, emails and texts before contacting us again. If you have already left a message by phone, email or text please do not get in touch – our call handling team will be in contact with you to arrange your appointment at a location best suited to your individual circumstance.

If you have not yet received a letter inviting you to make an appointment, please do not contact us yet.

NHS Fife Chief Executive, Carol Potter said:

“Over recent days we have put in place a number of measures to increase the capacity we have available to arrange flu appointments. While this has allowed us to begin tackling the backlog of calls and correspondence we have had, we appreciate that some people have continued to experience difficulties making an appointment and we apologise unreservedly for the anxiety that this is causing.

“Our call handlers are working extremely hard in difficult circumstances and, while we appreciate the frustration of those trying to get through, we ask that callers can continue to be polite and courteous to those arranging their appointment.

 “In order that we can maximise the number of appointments we can make, it is vital that only those who have already received a letter inviting them to arrange their flu jab – predominantly those over 65 - should contact us. 

“People between the ages of 18-64 with eligible health conditions will receive their letter in the coming weeks and should only call once they have received this. Similarly, those who have already made contact by text or email should not call our phone line to check whether these have been received – in such cases we are actively contacting patients to arrange these appointments.

“The flu campaign this year is starting much earlier than in previous years and runs right through to December. While we have had to adapt the way we deliver vaccination this year as a result of COVID-19, there continues to be a sufficient number of appointments available to ensure those who are eligible and want their flu jab will get it.

“I would like to reassure those awaiting an appointment that we continue to have sufficient supplies of vaccine despite the exceptional demand. Furthermore, we are also working closely with community pharmacies across Fife to monitor demand for vaccines, as they receive their vaccines directly from the suppliers.”



The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about changes to the way the flu vaccination in Scotland is carried out, with the campaign this year being delivered by health boards rather than individual GP practices.

All people across Fife in the eligible over 65’s age group received their letters on the same day. This amounted to around 70,000 across Fife people being invited to arrange their flu jab.

While an increase in the numbers of those seeking vaccination had been anticipated as a result of COVID-19, the exceptional level of demand in a short space of time was unforeseen. Some 70,000 letters were sent in a single mail-shot and our systems were not suitably prepared for the numbers of calls we received in the days that followed.

This was exacerbated by a considerable number of calls from those who were not included in the initial mail-shot but who expected a letter on account of an eligible health condition.

In order to improve the service and enhance telephone capacity, NHS Fife has implemented the following:-

  • A significant uplift in the number of call handlers are now in place to tackle the backlog and manage future bookings in the coming weeks.
  • Additional phone lines are being made available specifically to flu vaccination booking service.

The vaccination programme is being delivered in a network of community venues across the Kingdom. Moving to larger venues is essential to ensure that the appropriate physical distancing and infection prevention measures can be put in place.

A network of cluster clinics, vaccination hubs and community pharmacies across Fife is in place to deliver many thousands of vaccinations over the coming weeks and months.

 NHS Fife has taken steps to make our vaccination clinics and hubs as accessible as possible, with over 65s offered an appointment at their nearest cluster clinic with the option of using an Immunisation Hub if this is closer to home.

In cases where a patient has mobility issues or is housebound, they can be vaccinated by their district nursing team as in previous years.

NHS Fife is also looking at the feasibility of other models of delivery, such as pop-up clinics to enhance delivery further.

For more information on the national flu campaign and the differences in the way flu is delivered this year, visit: