NEWTON Abbot Racecourse will be used by a group of local GP practices as a COVID-19 vaccination centre from tomorrow (Saturday).

The Racecourse is easily accessible on the outskirts of Newton Abbot, has plenty of free parking.

The new centre will welcome its first patients from Saturday and is planned to operate over the summer period.

Pat Masterson, managing director for Newton Abbot Racecourse, said: ‘We’re absolutely delighted to host the vaccination centre in our function space to our local team of GP surgeries so that more people in our community can get their COVID vaccines as quickly as possible.

‘Being on the edge of Newton Abbot and Kingsteignton, we’re well placed for quick access from other towns with easy, level parking. The building’s ground floor function room has good open access so people who are frail or elderly can be treated quickly and easily before returning via a one-way system back to the car park.

‘There’s plenty of room to move around safely, which is what makes Newton Abbot Racecourse a perfect setting for a vaccination centre.’

Two Primary Care Networks have been involved in setting up the vaccination centre and will be using the site for their patients. The practices involved are Buckland Surgery, Cricketfield Surgery, Devon Square Surgery, Kingsteignton Medical Practice, Albany Surgery, Bovey Tracey and Chudleigh Surgery and Kingskerswell and Ipplepen Medical Centre.

Patients at these surgeries will be offered vaccinations at Newton Abbot Racecourse and this will allow the surgeries to increase the current capacity they have been using at Sherborne House.

The site will deliver both first and second dose vaccinations for patients and the GP practices will invite their patients directly when they are eligible, and appointments are available.

Nadine Jones and Ed Isaac, operation managers for the Newton Abbot COVID-19 Vaccination Service, said: ‘We are very excited about moving to the Racecourse, which will enable us to increase our capacity as we move to the second phase of the programme.

‘This will allow us to provide first doses for our younger population while administering second doses for our earlier cohorts. The site is very accessible and will reduce travelling times for those who live in and around Newton Abbot.

‘We are very appreciative of the support we have received from tremendous staff delivering our vaccinations and our incredible group of volunteers during the first phase of the campaign. We now look forward to our partnership with the Racecourse as we move forward with this unprecedented vaccination programme.’

The Local Vaccination Service will move from Sherborne House, Newton Abbot, to Newton Abbot Racecourse, from Saturday 15 May and patients will be contacted by their practice to confirm arrangements for their first or second appointments.