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Teamwork is the magic word as Primary Care Networks (PCNs) across Liverpool mobilise a smooth vaccination programme with just a few days’ notice. GP surgeries in Childwall Wavertree, SWAGGA and Picton PCNs now offering the Covid-19 vaccine, with management support from Capacity.
After a turbulent and traumatic year, the Covid-19 vaccine has been hailed as ‘the light at the end of the tunnel’ and has arrived in Liverpool’s communities sooner than originally predicted. The NHS is operating a staged approach, with patients over the age of 80 and frontline workers being the groups to be invited to receive the vaccine.
As Julia Hyde, PCN Lead Nurse for SWAGGA, points out: “Many in this age group have been shielding since the outbreak in March, so this appointment will be the first trip out of their house in seven months. It’s offering people hope; people are extremely thankful to have been vaccinated.”
It is estimated that once 60% of the population are vaccinated, the positive impact will truly start to be seen, with immunised patients protecting those who have not yet been vaccinated.
GPs deliver the national flu campaign every year, however this has been a significantly more difficult task, with a myriad of logistical challenges to juggle given the vaccine was only approved in the UK in the autumn.
Childwall Wavertree Primary Care Network (CWN), a collaboration of seven GP surgeries in south Liverpool, first found out they were going to be one of the leading vaccination sites in the city on 23rd November, with patients being welcomed in for the vaccine just three weeks later.
CWN enlisted the help of Liverpool public service support organisation, Capacity. Emma Lord, Director of Health at Capacity said, “It’s certainly been a hectic time for anyone involved in healthcare these past few months, but it’s all made worth it when you see how grateful some of our most vulnerable patients are, thanking the nurses, pharmacists, doctors, practice managers and wider workforce for their contribution to making the vaccine a reality.”
Doctor Ayo Adebanjo, Clinical Lead at CWN and GP Partner at Valley Medical Centre, where they started vaccinating on 14th December said: “I’ve never seen anything like this in my career before now; this whole process has really demonstrated the power of true collaboration in action.”
Over at SWAGGA PCN, Doctor Udit Gupta, GP Partner at The Gateacre Brow Practice, added: “When we first started the rollout last Saturday [9th January], everyone was asking to chip in, to help out.” In discussing what the vaccine will mean for patients and their communities, he noted: “I think this [vaccine] is really what people have been holding on to… this is the beginning of what we hope is the end of this really traumatic time. A lot of the patients are very emotional; they’re very grateful.”
We feared that the rise of misinformation and fake news could have had an impact on the number of people in the UK willing to have the vaccine, however this doesn’t seem to have been the case in South Liverpool: “We’ve had very little concerns about the vaccine; people have been very keen to have it. We’ve had reports of a sore arm and maybe a little tiredness the next day but that has gone away in 24 hours with everyone we’ve spoken to,” Dr Gupta remarked.
The vaccine rollout has not been without the exceptional response from the community; over 40volunteers have signed up in to assist with stewarding the vaccination clinics, and over 300 trainee medical students from the University of Liverpool have offered to work as vaccinators at GP practices across the city.
Pauline, a local volunteer, explained: “I registered last May when Liverpool City Council put out a call for volunteers then, but we weren’t needed until I got an email recently from Roseanne at Capacity asking if I was still interested and following up with some dates and places I could volunteer. So, I chose the shifts based on when I was available and got allocated… The process has been very smooth, everything seems very well organised… So it’s been very good!”
When asked how she had found the experience, another volunteer, Barbara, a retired teacher from Grassendale added: “Oh, it’s been humbling, touching… just wonderful! To see the fantastic response from the staff… It’s just been very joyful all together!”
‘Thank you Hope!’ - University vaccination center comes to a close after an incredible 83,000 doses delivered
In light of the recent ‘booster-plan’ announcement, we wanted to take a look back at the amazing achievements and the dedication that our partners have shown since the vaccine rollout began.
After months of ‘true collaboration in action’, Hope University’s vaccination center has closed its doors after delivering an incredible 83,000 doses to the communities of South Liverpool.
The vaccination center came as a ‘teamed-up approach’ as Primary Care Networks (PCNs), Childwall and Wavertree Network (CWN), SWAGGA and Picton PCN joined forces in March 2021 to mobilise a smooth vaccination programme to face the increased demands of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
To support with the strategy and communications of the programme the PCNs approached Liverpool-based public service design agency, Capacity, to help make things as safe, efficient and straight-forward as possible. With the added boost of the Capacity management team, the three PCNs were able to secure a fixed space on Hope University’s grounds, allowing the center to vaccinate over 1,200 people a day.
Since March, the center has worked with over 200 volunteers, 192 student vaccinators and 100s more medical staff delivering more than 17,500 hours of support.
The university grounds have since reopened to students returning to study in Autumn/Winter 2021. Over coming months the Childwall and Wavertree Primary Care network will continue to work closely with the university – ensuring all Hope students have been or have the opportunity to be vaccinated through their network, as well as continuing to support through their accelerated booster programme.
Professor Gerald Pillay, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of Liverpool Hope University, said: “Liverpool Hope University has a 175-year history of commitment to both education and to the local community. And as part of this key mission, we relished the opportunity to partner with Capacity Lab and the local Primary Care Networks (PCNs) to provide a vaccination facility here at our Hope Park campus in south Liverpool.
“Since the very beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Hope community of staff and students has worked together in response to the pandemic, raising funds, equipment and much needed resources for those delivering frontline services. In October 2020 the University was able to host its first Covid-19 testing centre, as part of the initial Government pilot scheme, to service both the Hope and local community.
“Meanwhile the vaccination centre, located in our Hope Park Sports facility, has been providing a much-needed service to a vast number of patients since it was first established in March of this year. We’re proud to have been able to play a role in the national Covid-19 vaccination programme and we’ll continue to work to combat the pandemic in any way we can.”Dr Jamie Hampson, Clinical Director of Swagga commented: “Being involved in the Covid pandemic response by helping to set up and run a mass vaccination centre at Hope University has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career. Collaborative efforts from healthcare professionals, Capacity, Hope University staff and the general public created a resource that has vaccinated so many and is likely to have saved many lives both directly and indirectly. We should all be justifiably proud of the part we played in this real achievement at a time of crisis.”
Emma Lord, Health Director at Capacity added: “The pace and brilliance of people has been astounding. The team at Hope University have shown incredible generosity with their space, supporting the PCNs to manage huge numbers of the public on their campus.
Local volunteers and medical students have been recruited and trained at an incredible speed, filling shift after shift enabling us to vaccinate thousands of people. The medical teams and leaders have worked tirelessly to ensure the site has run like a well-oiled machine – it’s been the best team-building exercise we could have wished for and demonstrates the power of the amazing people we work with.”