The Surrey Heath Covid-19 vaccination service has been named the South East regional winner of the 2022 NHS Parliamentary Awards and is now a finalist for the national title. The award recognises the way different organisations came together to support their community in response to Covid.
The NHS Parliamentary Awards were launched to mark the NHS’ 70th birthday in 2018 and are held annually to recognise the outstanding contribution of staff, volunteers and others working in the health and care sector. Applicants are recommended to Members of Parliament who then nominate one from their constituency. The vaccination service for people within Surrey Heath was nominated by Michael Gove, MP for Surrey Heath and the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
In Surrey Heath GP practices worked together with the NHS, the voluntary sector and borough and county councils to create a caring, efficient, responsive, high-performing vaccination services. By pooling resources and skills, the vaccination team and the broader support operation has been able to go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure as many people as possible could be reached and supported in the face of the pandemic. As well as providing the mainstream Covid-19 vaccinations, there were special considerations provided to support those with extra needs.
As well as the mainstream vaccination service, arrangements have been made for carers, older people and those with vulnerabilities and disabilities – with information provided to support them specifically. Wheelchairs have been made available and Surrey Heath Borough Council has laid on free transport for people to be able to attend. Outreach clinics have also been held for the Gypsy, Roma and traveller community, as well as homeless people, and additional support has been provided to increase vaccination in minority ethnic communities and for those in vulnerable groups.
Dr Mark Pugsley, local GP and Accountable Clinical Director of Surrey Heath Primary Care Network, said: “From the first days of preparing for the local rollout of the vaccination programme, we have seen some amazing commitment, selflessness and generosity from across our collective team. The Surrey Heath vaccination programme is the work of several organisations and lots of individuals all coming together to support a common goal and it’s remarkable to think of all that we’ve been able to achieve for the good of our residents, in such a short space of time.”
Solette Sheppardson, CEO at Voluntary Support North Surrey, said: “‘This is an excellent example of team work at its best, with everyone coming together at speed in a challenging situation. Many hundreds of volunteers have contributed to this success and it’s great to be able to demonstrate what has been achieved collectively.”
The partnership working that has enabled the successful vaccination programme has also built and strengthened relationships between the different groups involved, and organisers are hoping they can use these links to provide further health and wellbeing benefits to the local population in the future.
Anyone who has not yet been vaccinated is encouraged to either book an appointment or visit a walk-in service as soon as possible if they are eligible. More information can be found here: www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/