14 January 2021

Working together to fight COVID-19

Gillian Smith Senior Associate

The newly modernised EXO Centre at Lincolnshire Showground was revealed this week as one of the Primary Care centres with the NHS Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) leasing the building, along with storage facilities and car parking, until August.

A drive-through testing facility has been operational within the grounds of the Showground since last spring, originally opening for key workers before being made available to the public. This is separate to the new centre to ensure protection of those who attend for vaccinations.

Partner Andrew Harbourne and solicitor Gillian Smith from our Commercial Property team in the Lincoln office, led on ensuring the lease was agreed – with particular attention paid to the correct storage facilities, and safe disposal of medical equipment.

Speed was of the essence to ensure the facility could be made safely available as soon as possible, explained Gillian.

“Obviously, Wilkin Chapman was extremely keen to ensure that everything possible was done to ‘fast-track’ the legalities but at the same time ensuring the lease catered for both the Lincolnshire Showground’s and the NHS’ specific requirements,” said Gillian.

“It was vitally important that we pushed forward on this and of course it was in everyone’s interests that we all pulled together to help ensure the facilities become operational as soon as practically possible,” she added.

Jane Hiles, Chairman of the Lincolnshire Agricultural Society thanked all those involved in the arrangements: “Achieving this over Christmas added to the pressure as we needed the cooperation of our contractors John Martin-Hoyes Ltd and solicitors Wilkin Chapman to be ready, but we got there and the first patients are expected very soon,” she said.

Jayne Southall, CEO of Lincolnshire Showground added: “Lincolnshire Showground is delighted to be supporting this important initiative to get the public vaccinated against Covid19, we will be doing all we can to support the agencies involved during this process. The NHS vaccination centre uses a small part of the Showground and only one of our buildings; we hope the vaccination campaign will help to bring the events industry back up and running when restrictions are lifted and look forward to welcoming visitors back to our events when safe to do so.”

The EXO Centre was amongst a number of new vaccination centres to be announced in Lincolnshire this week, joining facilities at the hub at Lincoln County Hospital and in Grantham, Louth and South Lincoln.

Speaking to BBC Radio Lincolnshire last month Martin Fahy, Director of Nursing and Quality at NHS Lincolnshire CCG, said plans were advanced to bring forward more sites in the coming weeks to ensure the people of Lincolnshire had easy access to a spread of venues across the county.

NHS Lincolnshire’s Clinical Commissioning Group reminds people that they will be contacted by their GPs when it is their turn to be vaccinated. It is stressed that people must wait until they are contacted about a vaccination at a designated venue.

Gillian Smith, Wilkin Chapman LLP
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