A heartbreaking video has emerged of dozens of pensioners queueing in freezing cold outside a GP clinic to get Covid vaccines.
The elderly patients were seen waiting outside The Jenner Practice in Lewisham, south-east London, on Friday, when the vaccination programme for those over 80 began.
Footage shared by Paul Demetrious shows the waiting queue going around the clinic block and stretching all the way to the residential street.
Pensioners are seen dressing in thick coats and face masks; some of them even bring along a chair to rest their feet as they wait for their appointment.
Paul said his sister, Maria, captured the moment when she was dropping off her father, 85, and mother, 79, for the vaccine at the surgery.
Maria is heard saying: "So this is what happens when you come for a vaccine. There is no social distancing and there is X amount of people in the queue."
In the post, Paul explained: "My parents have been isolating since February 2020. On arrival for dad's Covid-19 vaccine time slot met this circus! They left without it
Paul spoke to LBC in an interview: "We shared this not as a witch hunt – although our mother was extremely upset – but for answers so that lessons can be learned to improve."
The clip has amassed more than 539,000 views since Friday with people condemning the clinic's poor arrangement.
One wrote: "Queueing and standing around in the freezing cold is double jeopardy for the elderly, a chance of catching Covid-19 and other infections. Something is wrong somewhere."
"That’s awful," another said. "Terrible elderly having to wait outside in winter like that, let alone the social distancing issues."
The NHS Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group wrote in a statement, saying: "A number of patients arrived 30-60 minutes early for their appointments, so – going forward – we are asking patients to arrive no more than 5 minutes before their slot.
"This reduced the queue and later in the day patients were turning up and going straight inside. The team were also requesting that people in the queue follow social distancing and infection control measures.
"We will be contacting the small number of patients who had an appointment yesterday and weren’t vaccinated to ensure they are seen this week.
"This was early on the first day of our new programme and we have now already increased the number of staff giving vaccinations along with asking patients to arrive no more than 5 minutes before their slot."