How Ribble Valley health centres joined forces to deliver the Covid-19 vaccination programe
On December 29th 2020, retired Clitheroe school teacher Mrs Barbara Lawton (95), was one of the first to have the Covid vaccination.
Now, people across Whalley, Clitheroe and Slaidburn have began receiving their second vaccines. This article goes behind the scenes and looks at the team working together from all four Ribblesdale practices.
Dr Russell Robb, PCN Clinical Director, said: “Our vaccination programme has been delivered by the four Ribblesdale GP practice teams (Sabden and Whalley Medical Centre, Slaidburn Country Practice, Pendleside Medical Centre, Castle Medical Group) working in partnership with a clinic base at Clitheroe Health Centre. Those with the highest risk, those aged 80 and over, were invited first. Care home workers and residents followed shortly after.
“We have put in place a considerable amount of planning and preparation to ensure that the programme has run smoothly, and we have vaccinated over 13,000 people aged over 60.
"Thanks to all the staff and Clitheroe Rotary who have helped to marshal the clinics, it has been a real team effort. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but I do urge everyone to continue to follow the guidance by washing their hands, wearing a mask and keeping a social distance.
"The team have been delivering clinics every week since late December. The number of clinics per week have depended on how much vaccine has been delivered and which type it
is. The practice staff are the first part of the team who get the ball rolling. Once we get notification of a delivery, their role is to get the staff rotas arranged and then contact patients to get them booked into a clinic. For the first couple of weeks, this was all done via telephone, but more recently has been automated.
"The Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine was used for the first two weeks of the vaccination programme. This comes in a multiple dose and contains a frozen suspension that does
not contain preservative and must be thawed and diluted prior to administration. This needs to be done by specially trained health professional. Once delivered, the vaccines have to be
used within three days. The Pfizer vaccine cannot be transported from the Health Centre and so people in care homes and the housebound could not be vaccinated until the Astra Zeneca vaccine arrived. This role out began on January 6th when teams of GPs and nurses visited people across the patch. The clinics themselves have been run by doctors and nurses from all four practices."
Dr Chris Dalton, from Whalley Medical Centre, commented: “The four Ribblesdale practices have always worked well together, but this vaccination programme has meant even closer
working. It has been a real pleasure to deliver this programme to support our local population.
"One very important role, signposting people around the Health Centre has been carried out by the volunteers from Clitheroe Rotary. Close to 200 people have signed up to support the clinics. The first week meant those in the car parks had to had to brace temperatures of -3.5 degrees and freezing fog. With the arrival of spring, hopefully we look to better days ahead."