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Here are some examples of our teams making a real difference:
- Working with Multicultural Cumbria
- Vaccine Bus
- Webinar for Employers
- Covid vaccination opportunities made available at Appleby Horse Fair
- Flexibility to reach as many people as possible
- Working with our Gypsy, Roma, Traveller community
- Supporting those who haven’t taken up the offer (Keswick and Solway PCN)
- Transport to Vaccination Hubs
- Supporting Community Leaders to build confidence
- Patients with learning disabilities
- Homeless patients
- Information in Alternative Languages and Formats
- Carers Super Saturday – held by Eden Primary Care Network
|We work closely with our colleagues at https://multiculturalcumbria.org.uk and you may be able to find links to other resources in a range of languages there.
Thank you MultiCultural Cumbria for helping us connect with other diasporas and communities living here in Cumbria.
While there are a range of opportunities for people across north Cumbria to access the covid vaccine, we know some communities have a lower take up of the vaccine.
Working with St John’s Ambulance team and the Green Tree pharmacy in Kirkby Stephen and St Paul’s Pharmacy in Carlisle we have offered vaccine bus pop-ups at
- Appleby Horse Fair
- Carlisle College
- University of Cumbria, Fusehill Street Campus
- Nestle factory (opened to staff and sixth formers at Caldew and the village of Dalston)
- Carlisle United home match
While take up wasn’t enormous, the opportunity to have conversations - asking questions about issues which may they may be worried about - was highly valuable.
While clinical capacity is needed for the booster and the 12-15 programmes, we will focus on the opportunity to share information. This will support people to make informed decisions and access information through the range of vaccine opportunities available across north Cumbria.
A free NHS webinar advertised through Cumbria’s business networks was held on September 21 2021.
Our lead pharmacist Helena Gregory talked about how vaccines work, the work that went into covid vaccines and the impact and benefit of vaccines.
Our wellbeing activator Sarah Linnard then talked about coaching conversations and how to meet people where they were and demonstrate listening and understanding.
The aim was to help employers talk to staff about their concerns and encourage them to find out more, or to have the vaccine.
Feedback is that the information was helpful.
An opportunity for people to get their Covid vaccination was made available for people at Appleby Horse Fair in August 2021 with some special ‘drop-in’ sessions.
Vaccinators were located in Appleby on both Thursday August 12 and Friday August 13 giving people the chance to get a Pfizer Covid vaccination. Specialist clinical advice was provided on the site by a Pharmacist from The Green Tree Pharmacy, from Kirkby Stephen, with St John Ambulance providing the vaccination vehicle bus, vaccinators and other support staff.
Appleby Horse Fair is an annual gathering of Gypsy and Traveller communities in the Cumbrian town and it is described as the biggest Gypsy fair in Europe. The traditional get together normally takes place the first week in June but was re-scheduled to August this year, due to restrictions related to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The on-site vaccination sessions were open to anyone but it was hoped in particular that members of the Gypsy and Traveller communities who would like a vaccination but have not yet had the opportunity, or would like to discuss it further with a clinician, could use these handy ‘drop in’ sessions at the Fair. A number of vaccines were given and a lot of conversations took place with our onsite team.
Visit our news page here for the full press release including quotes.
Pictured below: The vaccination team at Salt Tip Corner in Appleby
What else have we done to be as flexible as possible and reach as many people as we can?
• Clinics out of hours – weekends and evenings
• Using the county’s local networks to reach – agricultural networks, tourism workers, and diverse communities
• A single centre wouldn’t work for a geographically remote community like north Cumbria – we have developed a range of options building up from hospital hubs, primary care network hubs to a vaccination centre and a range of pharmacies covering a total of 20 regular locations – 10 of them bookable and many are now holding drop-ins
Working with colleagues in Public Health and Cumbria County Council information was provided in a useful format through an engagement officer from the community.
This approach allowed conversations to be had in a safe space with a trusted person.
Keswick and Solway PCN is taking a proactive approach to supporting people who haven’t taken up the offer and catching any seasonal workers who may have moved into the area and aren’t registered with a GP.
Catherine Penrice is the PCN Operations Manager:
“We want to make sure we are offering the vaccine to everyone in our community, and while our uptake has been very high we know some people haven’t taken up the offer.
“We are used to lots of overseas workers coming into our area for the summer season, but this year our hotel and restaurant owners say there have been far fewer because of travel restrictions. We considered offering tourism sector drop-ins but decided a more focused approach would have better results.
“Our 7 member practices are now reviewing all their patient lists and working with the Living Well Coaches from the NHS Wellbeing Service, part of North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, to support everyone to get a vaccine. This might be directing through the national system so they can book a slot that works for them or inviting them into smaller local drop in sessions and offering this to our tourism colleagues too.
“We’re picking up people who are needle-phobic so we can spend some time talking them through the process and how we can help them on the day.
“Our Living Well Coaches are also picking up some patients who are feeling isolated and anxious and would actually benefit from some support from them.”
NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group has provided £10,000 for small grants of up to £500, to enable grassroots organisations to help people travel to receive their covid vaccine.
The money is held by Cumbria Community Foundation and is intended to support costs, including mileage for volunteer drivers, and personal protective equipment (PPE) for those volunteers.
Peter Rooney, chief operating officer for the CCG, said: “Because of the logistical and clinical issues around handling the vaccine and the need to vaccinate many people quickly our GPs have been working together in groups called Primary Care Networks largely operating out of hubs. This can make it difficult for some people to travel to these hubs and we absolutely don’t want people to be disadvantaged because of that.
“In Cumbria there is a strong history of groups meeting transport needs in our communities and we want to support them to be effective at this very challenging time.”
Dr Jenny Benson, Director of Programmes & Partnerships at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “These small grants can make a real difference to these organisations who we know are best placed to help their own community. It means they can buy PPE to support their drivers and ensure costs are covered when there are strict rules about the numbers of people travelling because of covid restrictions.”
We have worked with our partners in public health and the third sector to support the development of Frequently Asked Questions about the vaccine programme resource for community leaders across Cumbria.
It has been collated from trusted sources of information in response to concerns about elected members and other community leaders feeling confident in answering questions about the vaccine.
It was circulated in early May and the work was led by Cumbria CVS and hosted on their website.
Feedback suggests it has been really helpful in supporting conversations in the community, and helping leaders feel assured they are sharing the right information and supporting people to make informed decisions.
Spencer Street Surgery in Carlisle held a special clinic to make patients with learning disabilities (LD) more comfortable.
Practice Manager Julie Swan explains their approach:
“We had already vaccinated many of our most vulnerable patients with learning disabilities as part of Cohort 4, but were keen to ensure that all those picked up in Cohort 6 felt safe and comfortable visiting our clinic.
“Because we were using Oxford Astra Zeneca we were able to invite them to our Practice, rather than our Primary Care Network Hub and this meant they were able to come to somewhere familiar with a team they knew.
“We understand it can be a nerve wracking experience, and that some of our patients with LD have real fears around needles. We invited our LD patients to a special clinic where we were able to keep the environment really calm and made sure the appointments were much longer. This gave everyone a chance to discuss what was happening and understand the process and the reasons why the vaccine is so important. We held the clinic at the end of the day so there wasn’t a rush or lots of other people around.
“We are also very conscious that we haven’t seen some of our patients as often as we would normally, while we have been living with covid restrictions. We wanted to make sure we offered health checks and the chance to catch up with our patients and their carers.
“All the team involved really enjoyed the session. It gave us a chance to really connect and ensure that our patients with learning disabilities felt well supported.”
Those who are homeless often struggle to interact easily with health services.
Workington Primary Care Network linked with Allerdale Council to visit a hotel that has been housing people during the covid pandemic.
Lead GP Dr Niall McGreevy and colleagues visited the hotel to make sure people there – part of Cohort 6 – got the vaccine and used the opportunity to offer health checks. They found more than they expected.
“This is a group of people who often don’t use primary care services and we knew to reach them we had to go to them.
“A small team of nurses, admin staff and I spent a morning at the hotel and offered the people being accommodated there the vaccine.
“We also took the opportunity to carry out health checks on those who wished to avail of the offer and provided advice about whatever health issues came up in conversation.
“We were surprised to find one man who couldn’t get out of bed, who on closer examination had an untreated broken ankle. Another had neglected leg ulcers. We were able to arrange appropriate treatment for both that day.
“Cohort 6 includes the homeless and working with the local authority to identify them gave us a good opportunity to make sure we are getting to people who really need this protection and to talk to them about their health.”
And in Carlisle – Carlisle Healthcare offered drop-in sessions at hostels in the city:
“We know that the homeless team in Carlisle does a lot to encourage people using the hostel to register with a local GP and many of their service-users had accessed the vaccination through their own practice or the national booking system, but not all.
“We worked with and Carlisle City Council’s homeless team and Cumbria County Council’s public health team to visit hostels and offer the vaccine and offer food vouchers too.
“We ran two session early in June and those that took up the offer were grateful to be able to discuss the issues in their own environment.”
Making sure information about the covid vaccine is available in alternative languages and formats has been a priority. Working with other NHS organisations and local authorities across Cumbria we agreed to house the information on our website it was easily accessible, prioritising the most requested languages in the NHS, and the most common languages accessed by schools.
View page: Covid-19 Vaccine leaflets in alternative languages and accessible formats.
We also identified local community champions and amplified their messages about vaccine confidence and connected with Multicultural Cumbria, AWAZ, Vistula - organisations in Cumbria working with communities where English isn’t the first language. We followed Naz on her vaccine appointment to build confidence in a film shared widely.
All the practices in Eden worked together to hold a special covid vaccine clinic for their unpaid carers in March. The PCN is already planning a follow up event for this group’s second vaccine.
PCN Operations Lead Anna Sives explains their approach:
“Our GP Practices in Eden have strong links with Eden Carers, an independent charity supporting unpaid carers, so we were confident many of our unpaid carers were known to our practices already.
“We weren’t complacent though, and we had a small working group involving the CCG, carers organisation and our local council to identify others, whether they were in receipt of carers allowance or known through other connections.
“We have a really active PCN Facebook page which we use to connect with patients and to share information. We first posted on the 6th March and encouraged groups to share the post so people had time to get ready for our Carers Super Saturday on the 20th March.
“The Eden Carers, the Eden Fit4health team and our team of social prescribers came along on the day to share information promote the services and support available to carers. We had a team of 10 vaccinators, 8 admin and 2 managers to ensure the day ran like clockwork for the 964 people vaccinated.
“We have had excellent feedback from patients, very supportive and appreciative.
“We are planning for – and looking forward to – our second vaccine sessions in our second Carers Super Saturday on June 5th.”