Ramping up the booster roll out – your NHS needs you!
Local health and social care organisations are rallying the troops with an urgent plea for NHS reservists and volunteers to support the Covid-19 booster drive.
Health and social care organisations across Norfolk and Waveney are pulling out all the stops to offer booster vaccinations to everyone 18+ by the end of December 2021.
NHS Reservists and Volunteers have already played an important role in supporting the vaccination programme. Our 93 Reservists have provided more than 17,300 hours of service and around 470 volunteers have given more than 28,500 hours of support to 50 vaccination clinic sites across Norfolk and Waveney over the last year.
NHS Reservists are those with clinical or administration skills that can fulfil urgently needed paid positions. This includes those who have retired from clinical practice or whose registration has lapsed as well as those currently in training for clinical roles.
Volunteers are also needed to help vaccination clinics to run smoothly and safely. From directing patients and booking them in, to on site marshalling and stewarding roles, they free up clinical and NHS support staff to focus on vaccine delivery. With volunteers’ help, patients feel at ease and can move through the clinics quickly and safely. The health and care system is also seeking volunteers to support those who are self-isolating by providing doorstep deliveries of food and medicines to those unable to leave their home.
Volunteer roles involve:
- Marshalling and Runners
- Directing people into sites from the car parks
- Meet and greet
- Monitoring people post vaccination
- Wiping down seats and public areas
- Supporting registered health care professional and providing vaccine cards
Vaccination roles involve:
- Administration of the vaccine to already consented and assessed individuals
- Check vaccine before administration and report any concerns
- Disposal of clinical and waste in accordance with national guidelines
You can support your local NHS, neighbours and communities by:
- Registering as an NHS reservist (paid sessions) – we are currently seeking Registered Vaccinators, Unregistered Vaccinators (clinical professionals whose registration may have lapsed) and Corporate and Clinical Administrators – click here
- Emailing Voluntary Norfolk email@example.com or making an online application – click here
- Registering to become an NHS Volunteer Responder with the Royal Voluntary Service online at nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk/i-want-to-volunteer/volunteer-roles
Existing volunteers are already being contacted, and more people are being asked to step forward to volunteer their time. Daytime, evening and weekend shifts will be required starting from 13 December to support the government’s promise of offering a booster vaccination to everyone aged 18+ by the end of the month.
RAF veteran and qualified nurse Frank Shannon came out of retirement in November 2020 to support the COVID-19 vaccination programme. He has been completing two or three shifts a week at the Norfolk and Norwich (N&N) University Hospital. The role has concentrated mainly on patient vaccination and data input but has also involved preparing the Pfizer vaccine before administration.
Frank said: “The support has been excellent and well organised. We have been provided with all the training required through a combination of online modules and practical life support training in person, plus individual training on the system used to record vaccinations. The unit’s permanent staff have given their full support and have ensured we are fully integrated into the team.
“We are in unprecedented times requiring a national effort with all hands to the pump. I was delighted to have the opportunity to support wherever I could. It has been very rewarding to be part of the N&N’s team and hope to be so for some time yet.” Frank qualified as a state registered nurse in 1978 and was a medical assistant with the Royal Naval Reserve before joining the RAF on a regular commission in 1981. He served in all RAF hospitals worldwide and was a senior theatre nursing officer for the Kuwait War. He left the RAF in 1996 to work as a theatre manager at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn but stayed on with the RAF as a reservist. After a deployment in Iraq, he left the NHS and was offered full time service again with the RAF as a nursing officer until his retirement in 2016. Frank added: “All health care personnel have an inner drive and motivation to help people. I just wanted to do my bit, help out in any way, not let my clinical skills go to waste, and be part of a team again.”
Head of Workforce
“I signed up to work at my local vaccination centre in Cambridge and have been working shifts on Saturdays since it opened this month. My day job is leading the delivery of the workforce side of the vaccination programme in Norfolk and Waveney and so I really wanted to see what the vaccination sites were like form an operational perspective.
“Working in the vaccination centre has been such a morale and energy boost! Its lovely getting out of the house and working in a team in person again! My role is Vaccination Centre Administration and so far that has meant that I have been ‘front of house’ logging people into Q- Flow who have booked appointments. It’s a great role as you get to meet lots of different people, all who have different feelings about coming to the centre to get their jab. Some people haven’t left their houses since March 2020, some are nervous about being in a public space, some get dressed up especially, and some are so excited to get their jab they ask for selfies! Many see this as a way of getting back to normal and being able to do all the things we took for granted before March last year which is really humbling as you then realise even more what an impact the last year has had on people from all walks of life.
“I also have access to Pinnacle and so in future I may work with the vaccinators to record patient information which will be a nice way to mix up shifts.
“Hopefully my insights have reinforced how great it is to be working at a centre, and shows that every role in the team is essential to providing a safe, reassuring, and streamlined process for people coming to us for their vaccinations.”
Voluntary Norfolk reaches Covid Response Volunteer milestone
Almost a year to the day since Voluntary Norfolk started supporting people and communities affected by Covid, the charity has just signed up its 1,000th Covid Response Volunteer, with demand for volunteers higher than it has have ever been.
Clare Evans, Head of Voluntary Norfolk’s Volunteer Services Team said ‘We have been recruiting volunteers since the start of Covid on behalf of different organisations, but since August last year we have been actively recruiting, training and deploying our own team of Covid Response Volunteers. Many of our volunteers support clients who are shielding or isolating by collecting and delivering prescriptions or food while other volunteers have been helping at vaccination centres.
‘This week we welcomed our 1,000th volunteer and although the circumstances that caused this level of volunteer activity is not be celebrated, it is certainly a proud moment. We need this level of volunteers to meet the huge increase in demand for volunteer assistance caused by the recent months of lockdown and the vaccination rollout.
‘We must also acknowledge the work of our 5 volunteer co-ordinators at Voluntary Norfolk who are managing these 1,000 volunteers, making sure they are all properly trained and supported, and each and every day placing volunteers with new tasks supporting people in the community. It has been a phenomenal effort from all involved.’ Clare added.
The statistics speak for themselves:
- Requests to help people who were isolating increased by 277% in January 2021 compared to December 2020.
- Covid Response Volunteers provided direct one-to-one support to over 500 people in January 2021
- In February 2021, volunteers completed over 1,200 shifts at 18 different vaccination centres across Norfolk
Lisa Tweed, Voluntary Norfolk’s 1,000th Covid Response Volunteer
“I was inspired to volunteer after taking my mum for her vaccination at the Park Surgery in Great Yarmouth and the volunteer marshalls there were so brilliant. My mum was nervous about the vaccination but they reassured her and put her at ease. It was such an uplifting experience to see everyone being vaccinated, a real community effort and I wanted to support and be part of that.”