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Here are some examples of our teams making a real difference:
- Patients with learning disabilities
- Homeless patients
- Information in Alternative Languages and Formats
- Carers Super Saturday – held by Eden Primary Care Network
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.”