Royal Surrey is celebrating after delivering more than 35,000 doses of the Coronavirus vaccine following one of the biggest challenges in its history.
Doctors, nurses, surgeons, pharmacists, dentists and many more have worked tirelessly side by side to help vaccinate the community since the Trust was named as one of the country’s first 50 hubs.
Angela Riga, Consultant Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary (HPB) Surgeon and Chief of Service for Diagnostics and Clinical Support in Royal Surrey’s Surgery Unit, said: “The hub has been an incredible team effort, we have had nurses from outpatients, theatres, endoscopy and our special care baby unit working alongside dentists, surgeons, anaesthetists, medics, and retired GPs to deliver the vaccine to our community.
“This has been an optimistic project from the beginning – it was easy to get staff involved to work in the hub, there has been fantastic camaraderie and we’ve felt as though we’re giving hope and helping everyone get back to normal.”
Giezl Pulanco, manager and senior sister in the special care baby unit, said: “I was really keen to help in the vaccine hub. I had lost a relative to Covid-19 and friends had lost their jobs and businesses. I knew I could not just sit back and be silent. I felt that I could make a difference and it’s been extremely satisfying and rewarding being involved.”
Dr Kavitha Madhuri, senior clinical fellow in the Department of Gynaecological Oncology, said: “When the hub opened in early December, it felt like there was a ray of hope, there was this fantastic thing that I could be part of and it has meant so much to our patients.”
Since it’s opening, the smooth running of the hub has also been helped by quality improvement experts who in January tackled the challenge of moving the hub from its temporary location in the staff restaurant to a much smaller location in the physiotherapy gym. The aim was to move the hub, while continuing to vaccinate the same volume of people and without interrupting the service.
The results of the transfer exceeded all expectations as the team not only moved the hub in an impressive two days to a space one-third the size of the original, but also managed to reduce the time that patients had to spend in the hub. The process was streamlined so that it took just five minutes from when a patient arrived at the hub, saving nine minutes per vaccination.
The Trust’s Quality Improvement Team coordinated the project, which captured the knowledge and ideas of those working in the hub, the existing process flows, and the obstacles to improvement. The whole team then used this information to come up with ideas to improve the hub and redesign the vaccination process.
Nick Sands, Director of Transformation, said: “The team tackled this difficult challenge by analysing the barriers to flow through the hub to enable the use of a smaller space. This had to be done without reducing overall capacity while maintaining social distancing between patients to minimise the risk of disease spread. Ultimately, a faster, more efficient vaccination process was achieved.
“We modified our approach to delivery of the vaccine, using the prescriber and the vaccinator as a team that moved together from patient to patient. This meant that patients were only asked for their personal details once and only moved seats twice, compared with up to six times in the previous set up."
Jennifer Price, Associate Director of Operations for Diagnostics and Clinical Support Services, said: “It’s fantastic to see how a successful collaboration between different Trust teams using Quality Improvement processes can have such an enormous impact. This is a brilliant example of how working together has helped us improve and refine key operations and effectively meet the ever changing challenges we have to deal with.”
Royal Surrey will continue to play a part in the vaccination programme led by Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership, including supporting vulnerable patient groups to receive their vaccination.