HEALTH bosses have promised to tackle an issue with queues outside Blackburn Cathedral, where hundreds of people are being vaccinated against covid-19 every day.

Concerns were raised this week after those attending the town centre to be vaccinated – the majority of who are in their 70s and 80s, were left waiting outside for up to two hours to receive their dose.

However health bosses have recognised the issue and have pledged to tackle the issue – urging people to continue turning up for their appointments.

Several people have contacted the Lancashire Telegraph to highlight the issue, with one reader saying people were leaving the centre ‘cold distressed and tired out’ after being left to wait outside for hours.

Blackburn man David Forrester, who went for his inoculation on Friday, said he was concerned the delivery of the vaccination may lead to people choosing not to attend their appointment.

He said: “I arrived at 10.05 for my 10.20 appointment and joined a queue outside the cathedral.

“One and a half hours later I finally managed to get to the door of the crypt to start the process of booking-in, medical assessment and administration of the vaccination.

“This is a ludicrous and totally unacceptable situation for the dozens of people like me in their 70’s and 80’s, some of whom were in wheelchairs, to stand outside in freezing cold weather.

“To make matters worse, when I exited the Cathedral (having had the vaccination) around midday the queue was twice as long as when I joined it two hours earlier.

“Inevitably, this would mean people were standing outside in the cold weather for even longer.

“This is hardly the kind of experience which is going to encourage more people to have the vaccination and is certainly conditioning my approach to having the follow-on jab.”

Another woman shad a similar experience, saying the queue when she arrived to the cathedral on Saturday was ‘as far as the eye could see.’

She said: “Because of my coronary and vascular issues, I knew I couldn't even walk as far as the end of the queue never mind there and back to the crypt entrance door.

“I asked a steward if I could wait there while my husband went off to find the end of the queue and join it on my behalf.

“I propped myself up on the barriers to wait for him to arrive which took more than half an hour by which time I was freezing from the bitingly cold wind.

“I couldn't even feel my feet, my legs were shaking and I was almost unable to stand. An incredibly kindly steward kept checking I was still managing.”

The woman said that people ‘far older and seemingly just as vulnerable’ were also waiting outside in the cold. Despite the ordeal the woman said she was grateful for having the opportunity to get her vaccination.

She said: “I am incredibly grateful to the council and the Cathedral hierarchy for making it happen in this region.

“I am indebted to all the professionals and volunteers involved in the process - particularly the steward who was the Hero of the day for caring when I wanted to give up and simply go home even if I had to risk catching Covid.”

An NHS spokesperson said: "We apologise that patients have experienced delays at the vaccination centre at Blackburn Cathedral. This vaccination service has been set up at pace and is increasing the number of vaccinations provided each day and staff are working very hard to vaccinate people as swiftly as possible. 

"We are currently putting processes in place to address any issues around patient flow as quickly as possible by increasing staff support and support from the military, so we do not expect this to be an ongoing issue. Thank you to the Dean at Blackburn Cathedral who has been extremely helpful in proving space for people to wait inside the cathedral. 

"We would like to encourage people to continue to attend their appointment for a vaccination at our large vaccination centres in Lancashire and South Cumbria."