Healthwatch City of London Newsletter 25 March 2021

St Leonard's redevelopment, the vaccination programme, access to GPs and all the local vaccination events are just some of the items featured in this month's newsletter. Read below for all the detail.

This month Malcolm Waters, one our Trustees, is our feature writer. Malcolm works on the COVID 19 information project, St Leonard’s redevelopment engagement and is our Deputy Treasurer.

Dear Reader,

Information and advice about Covid-19 and the vaccination programme has inevitably made up much of the content of recent newsletters and bulletins. However, we continue to keep a close eye on other areas of concern to City residents, with the redevelopment of St Leonard’s Hospital being a top priority.

As many of you will know, St Leonard’s is a community hospital, within easy reach of the City and offering services which are greatly valued by City and Hackney residents. These include physiotherapy, foot health, talking therapies, sexual health, wheelchair services, adult learning disabilities and specialist dental services.

While the services at St Leonard’s are highly rated, the buildings are in a sorry state. Most of them are around 150 years old and much space (especially in the basements) is empty and unusable.  The position is well summed up in the Frequently Asked Questions on the City and Hackney CCG’s website, where the hospital is described as “an extremely old and dilapidated building which has been poorly utilised for a number of years with wasted space and services which are currently inconvenient for service users to access”.

Many proposals for redevelopment have been put forward over the years. Currently, an alliance between the City, Hackney, the CCG and the site owner (an NHS company) is engaged in an elaborate three-phase process to put together a business case for the redevelopment of the hospital. The pandemic unfortunately led to the process being stalled early in 2020 before Phase 1 had been completed. The outputs from the work that has been done so far have, however, included a consultants’ report which concluded that there is a “compelling case” for change for the site. The consultants’ brief required them to confine their attention to the services currently provided at St Leonard’s, so the remainder of Phase 1 will need to consider how the case for change stacks up after factoring in ongoing changes in the organisation and delivery of healthcare (including changes resulting from Covid) and whether any new services are to be provided at a redeveloped hospital.

Although the consultants carried out a limited degree of public engagement when preparing their report, Healthwatch City of London has felt for some time that more needs to be done to keep local residents informed about what is happening at St Leonard’s and to involve them more closely in planning its future. Our colleagues at Healthwatch Hackney feel the same way. The two Healthwatches have therefore agreed to work in partnership to lead a programme of public engagement that will properly capture the aspirations of the City and Hackney population for the future of the site. Our plans are at an early stage, but we hope that this exercise will include:

  • A public meeting under the joint chairmanship of our chair, Gail Beer, and the chair of Healthwatch Hackney, Malcolm Alexander, at which members of the public can ask questions and make recommendations.
  • A survey of City and Hackney residents coupled with volunteer outreach to groups whose views and experiences may not be captured by the survey.
  • Separate focus groups for each of the eight neighbourhoods which make up the City and Hackney area, with input from NHS professionals to enable each group to come to an informed view about the services which their neighbourhood would like to see delivered from a redeveloped St Leonard’s.

To set the ball rolling, the chairs of both Healthwatches have invited local health leaders to a roundtable meeting next month to agree a way forward for the transformation of the St Leonard’s site.  We will be keeping you informed of progress in the months ahead, and very much hope that a good cross-section of City residents will get involved in the public engagement process that our plans envisage.

With best wishes,

Malcolm Waters, Trustee, Healthwatch City of London

A little history on St Leonard’s …

  • The hospital began life in 1777 as the infirmary for the parish workhouse on the Kingsland Road.
  • Following his appointment as parish surgeon in 1813, Dr James Parkinson reorganised the infirmary and established a separate fever block for infectious patients. In 1817, he went on to give the first systematic description of the condition we know as Parkinson’s Disease.
  • Edith Cavill was Assistant Matron at St Leonard’s, where she worked between 1903 and 1906, before starting her work in the training of nurses in Belgium, where she was executed by the Germans in 1915 for sheltering Allied soldiers.
  • St Leonard’s is thought to have been the first London hospital to receive air-raid casualties in the Second World War and was itself bombed in 1941.
  • Coming closer to home, we are proud to say that our chair, Gail Beer, was working as a ward sister at St Leonard’s during its final year as an in-patient hospital in the 1980’s!

COVID 19 Vaccination update

Barts update

If you had your first vaccination at Barts, you are now able to book your second dose, regardless of your priority group. An appointment can be booked by emailing If possible, please include the information below your email.

Full name 

Date of birth 

Mobile phone or landline number 

Email address

Date of your first vaccine 

Location of your first vaccine (e.g., St Bartholomew’s Hospital) 

The date 11 weeks from your first vaccine: for example, if your first dose was on 1 January, your second dose should ideally be on 19 March 

Preferred day for your vaccination. Please note, vaccinations only take place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 

Preferred time of day: please select morning or afternoon

City and Hackney CCG are now vaccinating people in priority groups 1- 9. Please see the guidance below.

Cohorts 1-4:

  • Residents aged 70 or above or clinically extremely vulnerable (high risk): Contact their GP if you have not had your first vaccination
  • Frontline health and social care workers: Speak to your manager find out how to get an appointment locally.

Cohort 6:

  • Residents aged 16-64 who are clinically vulnerable (moderate risk) or residents who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person who is at increased risk of Covid-19 mortality and therefore clinically vulnerable - Please wait for your GP to contact you

Cohort 5,8 and 9:

  • Residents aged 50-69: Please book an appointment using the national booking system for a list of sites or wait to be contacted by their GP

There are now six vaccination sites in City and Hackney. You need an appointment to attend these sites:

Primary Care sites (booked through GPs)

  • John Scott Health Centre, Green Lanes, Hackney N4 2NU
  • Bocking Street Vaccination Centre, Hackney Central E8 3RU

Pharmacy sites (booked through the National Booking site)

  • Clockwork Pharmacy - 398-400 Mare Street, Hackney, London E8 1HP
  • Bees Pharmacy - 199-201 Rushmore Road, Clapton, E5 0HD
  • Haggerston Pharmacy - 201 Haggerston Road, E8 4HU
  • Silverfields Chemist, 141 Homerton High Street, E9 6AS

Vaccinations for residents registered at Tower Hamlets GPs are being administered from: 

  • Newby Place Health and Wellbeing Centre, 21 Newby Place, Poplar, E14 0EY
  • Queen Mary’s University, Arts Research Centre, Mile End Road, E14 4NS

Shielding advice for the clinically extremely vulnerable to stop from April

Advice to the clinically extremely vulnerable to shield ceases from Thursday 1 April, as virus infection rates continue to fall. People on shielded patient list will receive letters from today with updated guidance on steps people can take to reduce their risk.

In line with the government’s COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021 roadmap published last month, those on the shielded patient list can begin to follow the national restrictions alongside the rest of the population but are still advised to take extra precautions to keep themselves safe from COVID-19.

Letters to patients with updated guidance will be arriving from today and over the next 2 weeks. These set out practical steps people can follow to reduce their risk of catching the virus, including continuing to maintain strict social distancing and to keep their overall social contacts at low levels, such as working from home where possible.

For more details please read the article on our website.

Get tested: One in three people with Coronavirus have no symptoms

Rapid COVID-19 tests are available for those living or working in the Square Mile who cannot work from home and who do not have Coronavirus symptoms or have not been in contact with a person with symptoms in the last ten days. These free tests are being provided by the City Corporation in partnership with the NHS to help detect cases of the virus faster and can prevent outbreaks in your workplace. It is recommended that you test every three to five working days. 

You must have an appointment, which you can book online. Tests are taken at 80 Leadenhall Street.

School pupils, their households and school staff can now access rapid testing

The testing site at Guildhall Yard is now handing out rapid home testing kits each from 1:30pm to 7:00pm to the following groups:

  • school pupils
  • primary and secondary school staff
  • households, childcare and support bubbles of primary and secondary-age pupils
  • households, childcare and support bubbles of primary and secondary staff

There is no need to book to collect your kits.

Alternatively, rapid home testing kits can be ordered online by the same groups.

If you are unable to make an appointment for 80 Leadenhall, there are four other testing sites available in Hackney.

We will publish updates, as and when we get them, on our new COVID 19 information pages

Voice for disabled residents: complete the survey

Disabled residents have faced more difficulties than most during Covid. The eight North East London local Healthwatch, in partnership with the East London Health and Care Partnership (the eight councils and 12 NHS organisations in East London), are conducting a programme of community insights gathering with disabled residents.

The impact of Covid 19 and how services have changed as a result will be highlighted, we want to understand how these changes are affecting our disabled residents so we can inform service delivery in the future.  

If you have a health condition that impacts your daily life, we want you to help shape healthcare services locally by completing our questionnaire.

You can access the survey by clicking on this link                                                                                                                             

If you look after somebody who would not be able to answer questions themselves, for example if you are the parent of a disabled young child, the carer for someone with a severe learning disability or dementia please complete this survey

If you have any questions or need help, please email Paul Coles on

Anyone who completes the survey can enter into a draw to win Amazon vouchers.

City and Hackney CCG merger

City and Hackney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will merge with the six other north east London CCGs – Newham, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge – to become a single organisation called North East London CCG from 1 April 2021. The health and social care system in the City of London will be run by the Integrated Care Partnership Board (ICP) on behalf of the new CCG. Healthwatch City of London will continue to work closely with the NELCCG and the ICP.

New UK Health Security Agency

A new UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to plan for, prevent and respond to external health threats such as infectious diseases will be led by Dr Jenny Harries, the government has announced today. Dr Harries has previously served on the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has expertise gained from working in the NHS and local government at local, regional and national levels. She played central roles in the UK’s response to COVID, Ebola, Zika, monkeypox, MERS and the Novichok attacks.

The UKHSA – previously the National Institute for Health Protection – will be the UK leader for health security, providing intellectual, scientific, and operational leadership at national and local level, as well as globally. It aims to ensure the nation can respond quickly and at greater scale to deal with pandemics and future threats.

The primary focus for the UKHSA in its initial phase of operation will be the continued fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UKHSA will be chaired by Ian Peters, currently Chair of Barts Health NHS Trust.

City and Hackney Safeguarding Adults Board newsletter

The City and Hackney Safeguarding Adults Board has published its spring newsletter.

You can read it by clicking on the box below

The City and Hackney Safeguarding Adults Board Spring Newsletter

GP access review must be part of NHS COVID-19 recovery

Healthwatch England research shows that tens of thousands of people struggled to contact or see their doctor during the first year of the pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally shifted the way we use our GP practice. Instead of phoning for an appointment or walking-in to a surgery, access to care has rapidly moved to online bookings and video and phone consultations.

The move to remote appointments has allowed GP practices to keep services running for millions of people.  As previous research highlighted, remote consultations have made getting care quicker, more efficient and easier to fit around their lives for many people. 

But, as the new report makes clear, many people are struggling to access care from their GP practice, leaving them feeling frustrated and confused. Certain groups also risk being left behind, such as older people, disabled people, people affected by homelessness and on low incomes, and those whose first language isn’t English. 

Find out more in the full report.

Healthwatch City of London will be carrying out our own research in the community to understand your thoughts on the changes to GP access. If you’d like to let us know please email:

Upcoming Healthwatch City of London Events

One of Healthwatch City of London’s purposes is to understand the needs, experiences and concerns of people who use health and social care services and to speak out on their behalf. To ensure we hear of and know of your concerns we run regular events. Ideally, we’d like to hold them face to face, but because of the current pandemic we are restricted to Zoom events.

Please see a list of our events below with joining details.

Healthwatch City of London Drop-in Session – Thursday 25th March

Overview: The theme for the session this month is ‘your experience of the COVID vaccination’. We’d like to hear of your experiences of booking, travelling to vaccination centres, access to information etc. The session if also designed for anyone to join, for you to raise any issues you have with the health and social care provided from the City of London, ask questions and to talk to us about any areas of support or help you need. 

Time: 2pm – 4pm

Joining details:

Meeting ID: 963 0360 7406 Passcode: 538429 Dial in: 0203 481 5237

Future dates for your diary

Healthwatch City of London Board meeting in Public – Friday 16th April 13:00 – 15:00

Listening to City Carers Group – Friday 23rd April 14:00 – 15:00

Drop-in session – Thursday 29th April 14:00 – 16:00

Mental Health and Wellbeing Focus Group – Friday 30th April 15:00 – 16:00

Listening to City Carers Group – Friday 21st May 11:00 – 12:00

Drop-in session – Thursday 27th May 14:00 – 16:00

Upcoming Covid-19 vaccine online information events and pop up clinics

Sunday 28 March.  8:30am – 7:30pm

Vaccination clinic for Black communities in City and Hackney

A vaccination clinic for Hackney’s Black communities, especially those of Black Caribbean and Black African background is being organised by local GPs to help encourage uptake of the vaccine. The vaccine clinic will take place at the Bocking Street Vaccination Clinic in Hackney Central from 8:30am-7:30pm. 

Book your place at this special event by calling: 020 8356 3111 - lines open 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday to Friday. 

To be eligible to book an appointment you must be a resident of Hackney or the City of London, aged 50 or over, be an unpaid carer or have a health condition that puts you at a higher risk of COVID-19. If you are eligible for a vaccination and cannot make this date you can also book an appointment at one of the mass vaccination sites by calling 119 or going online to 

Tuesday 30 March 5:00pm – 6:00pm

Online event for the Romanian Community

The EERC, Greater London Authority (GLA), NHS and PHE have joined forces to provide a free online seminar full of information to answer your questions about the Covid-19 vaccine. The session will be in Romanian.

You can register for the online event here

Wednesday 31 March 2:00pm – 3:15pm

Older Londoners: The Big Conversation

Public Health England, NHS and Age UK London invite you to attend the “Older Londoners Big Conversation” looking at what we all need to know about vaccines and how all communities across London can be better empowered to make informed decisions about their health including accessing balanced information about Covid vaccines. Register to attend on this Eventbrite page where you will also have the opportunity to put your questions to Dr Patel

Thursday 1 April 5:30pm - 7:30pm

COVID Vaccine Conversation:  South Asian Muslim Communities in City and Hackney

There are a lot of questions around the vaccine and virus impacts for the diverse communities of Hackney and the City. In response to this, City and Hackney Healthcare Partnership alongside community leaders are hosting an online vaccine event for our South Asian Communities. 

Panelled by community leaders this is part of a series of conversations with community groups in City and Hackney. This will be a chance to have honest conversations and ask the questions you want answers to in regard to COVID-19 and the vaccine. To ensure that everybody has a chance to participate we will be hosting breakout rooms in Punjabi, Sylheti, Urdu, and English. 

The event will take place online on Thursday 1st April 5.30pm–7.30pm via zoom. You can join through this link: You can submit your questions to the panel beforehand by emailing 

If there is anything they can do to make the zoom meeting more accessible for you, please let them know by emailing and or

Latest COVID-19 and vaccination data for the City of London

The joint City and Hackney Public Health Intelligence Team produce regular statistics on Covid-19 levels in the City. The site now also shows the vaccination uptake statistics.

The site below breaks down the cases in the City, and in Hackney, and by Ward, this enables residents to see the wider picture of infection rates. The site is updated regularly.

City Carers Community Events

An Introduction to Qi Gong via Zoom 28th March & 11th April (extra date added)

Suitable for absolute beginners. Taught by Lai, she has won many awards and competitions. Funded by the Culture Mile imagine fund. The City Carers Community invites you to join us in an introduction to Qi Gong for Free.

You will learn the art of peaceful, gentle movement-based exercise. Open to City Carers, friends, family, and City residents of all ages. One-hour Sessions at 11 am on 28th March & 11th April 2021. You can attend one or both sessions. You can choose to have your video on or off. Please come along and try it out. Booking is required, for the zoom link email to

Latest news in your language

All the information published in this newsletter, and on our website, can be translated into your preferred language. Simply click on the ‘select language’ box at the top of the page and select the language of your choice. (Translation is via google translate, so it may not be grammatically correct)


Buradaki website ve yayınlanan bilgiler sizin konuştuğunuz Lisana çevrilmiştir. Tek yapacağınız şey, sayfanın başındaki ‘Select Language’ düğmesine basıp, konuştuğunuz Lisanı seçmektir.


La información publicada en este boletín y en nuestra página web puede ser traducida al idioma que prefiera. Simplemente seleccione su idioma en el campo “select language” en la parte superior de la página (la traducción está realizada a traves de Google Translate por lo que puede ser que no sea gramaticalmente correcta).

Get in touch with Healthwatch City of London

Visit our website for more information, news, and events, have your say about your care, and spread the word about Healthwatch City of London.

Web: Email:

Tel: 020 3745 9563 Twitter: @HealthwatchCoL Facebook: @CoLHealthwatch

Portsoken Health and Community Centre, 14-16 Little Somerset Street, London E1 8AH

Coronavirus restrictions remain in place across the country.

In England:

  • Only socialise indoors with people you live with or who are in your support bubble
  • Up to 6 people or 2 households can meet outside
  • Work from home if you can and minimise travel
  • If you have symptoms get a test and stay at home