Two Numark pharmacies have worked with six GP surgeries to administer more than 68,500 Covid vaccinations in Flitwick, Bedfordshire.
Cheeseman & Son Pharmacy and C&H Barton Pharmacy set up a vaccination site in the Rufus Centre, which normally stages conferences and meetings, where 80 vaccinators and 250 volunteers helped roll out jabs.
Working with the surgeries, they vaccinated all residents and staff in residential care homes, as well as housebound patients. Practice nurses and clinical commissioning group-commissioned pharmacists delivered the first doses while the two pharmacies administered second doses from the vaccination centre.
They used the NHS national booking service to secure appointment slots, and the six surgeries sent messages to their patients inviting them to book their vaccination by using that service or by calling 119.
“Our operating model is definitely unique. Our two pharmacy teams set up the vaccination site with approval from all six surgeries. Alex and I set up a website to recruit staff and volunteers and we actively engaged our local communities to involve as many people as possible in this journey,” said Nishil Shah, the superintendent pharmacist of Cheeseman & Son Pharmacy.
“Within three weeks, we had 200 vaccinators and 850 volunteers express an interest in joining us.”
Mr Shah said the pharmacies set up face-to-face Covid injection technique training for 10 healthcare assistants who have since become fully trained vaccinators.
“Being a pharmacy-led vaccination service has enabled the GP practices to concentrate on their clinical work without interruption and patients have continued to access GP services without any disruption,” Mr Shah said.
“We believe that we have played a pivotal role in helping everyone get back to some sort of normality. Our team reached out to all care home residents and housebound patients. In the last month, when many primary care network sites have wound down, the Rufus Centre vaccination team has stepped up to work with our CCG to ensure all remaining housebound patients and care home residents across the whole of Bedfordshire and Luton have been vaccinated.”