A 'daft' health board decision means elderly patients at a North Ayrshire medical practice must go to Paisley for their flu vaccination while younger residents can go to their GP as normal.

Those aged 65 or over will not be able to get their annual flu jab at Mistylaw Medical Practice in Beith after the decision was made that they would be administered at a football stadium in Paisley.

The decision was made by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, the health board that Mistylaw falls under due to it being a satellite practice of a main surgery in Lochwinnoch in Renfrewshire.

Fiona Donnelly, whose husband is registered at the practice, said: "It’s terrible and the younger ones will get it locally - it doesn’t make sense at all.

"Plus most older people are scared to go anywhere just now, only making very necessary short journeys and most won’t want to use public transport."

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Mistylaw Medical Practice in BeithMistylaw Medical Practice in Beith

Patients at the centre contacted Councillor Donald L Reid 'seething' about the decision.

One told him: “I have had the flu jag every year at 'Misty Law.' Why the change this year?

"To ask elderly and often infirm locals to travel to Paisley is beyond the pale. Most will probably have to go by bus, a form of transport they have been asked to avoid.

"Sadly many will probably decide it’s too much for them to travel, thus missing the jag and possibly end up with flu this winter.

“There is something far wrong when we are daily told the country is in the middle of a pandemic."

Renfrewshire HSCP (Health and Social Care Partnership) will deliver flu vaccinations for the over 65s from a central location at St Mirren Park in Paisley.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: St Mirren Park, PaisleySt Mirren Park, Paisley

The health board revealed that this year’s flu programme needs to vaccinate approximately double what the number that has been done in previous years.

Cllr Reid said: “It does seem a totally daft and dangerous decision to ask our most vulnerable older people to make this journey when they will need to ‘book a slot’ and not arrive too early or too late or they will miss it.

“I would emphasise that this issue relates solely to the Mistylaw practice and I understand too that they are also very unhappy about this decision which is not of their doing.”

A spokesperson for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said that health boards and Health and Social Care Partnerships in Scotland were asked by Holyrood to play ‘a significant role’ in delivering the extended vaccination programme.

Due to COVID-19, the spokesperson said, there is a need for ‘large scale vaccination centres’ where social distancing, infection control and the flow of patients can be easily managed.

Therefore, the health board decided that GPs would supply the flu jab to their 18 to 64-year-old at risk groups while HSCPs and NHS Boards would deliver the remainder.

The spokesperson told the Herald: “Renfrewshire HSCP will deliver flu vaccination for the over 65s from a central vaccination centre at St Mirren Park in Paisley – this site is large enough to allow safe social distancing and can accommodate the 1,000 vaccinations per day required to immunise all those eligible.

“We would like to apologise to our patients for any inconvenience this may cause and would ask that every effort is made to attend appointments. If needed, a patient can contact the call centre to rearrange the appointment for a later and more suitable date.”