In the latest twist, it appears that in general practice, despite urgent comms in the last few weeks, we aren’t going to need to be ready to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine programme from 1st December – or are we?
Having read the letter sent out last week to NHS trusts, it appears at first glance that we’re not going to be needed in the first phase of the 2020 campaign, if and when it arrives – unless we’re going to need to vaccinate some of our care-home patients and over 80s; then we might be vaccinating more than it appears at first glance.
We’re busy gearing up for a full-blown vaccination campaign. Some brilliant technological solutions are being offered, but I’m not sure how they’re going to fit in with the national apps and booking process. I feel quite undecided about what is the best way to go, and none of the other PMs in our PCN seem any more confident than I am.
I can’t see any way around this, other than planning for it to happen – after all, even if we don’t end up administering the super-low temperature vaccine, as soon as an alternative becomes available, we’ll most likely be first and foremost. Hence, it’s not a case of if, but when.
I feel in some ways strangely sanguine. Now that the solution of a vaccine can be seen just over the horizon, I’m ready for the challenge that 2021 will undoubtedly bring. 2020 has been hideous, but a vaccine heralds the start of the return to normal. Having delivered a socially-distanced flu campaign, which was incredibly successful, I feel confident about our ability to provide a COVID-19 vaccination programme too. I’m not optimistic that the payment is a generous settlement, but if we break even on the campaign, I’ll be happy. I want to be a part of the incredible team that has delivered patient care despite intense challenges. I want my team to feel the deep appreciation I have for them, both individually and collectively. Their professionalism, support and never-ending effort this year have proved just what incredible humans they are. I’m in awe of what general practice has achieved in 2020. From a predominantly face-to-face organisation with limited technical support, to becoming a mainly technological consultation system within a couple of weeks, what we’ve achieved across general practice can’t be underestimated.
So I say, “BRING IT ON!” Whatever we need to deliver, we will do, at scale, efficiently and with quiet and unassuming effort.
We’ll do this because the nation needs us to. Our patients need us, and never since the foundation of the NHS in 1948 has there been such a threat to the health of the nation.
So, onward and upward: now to organise clinics, to check operational facilities for nursing-home vaccinations and to keep an eye on the deluge of emails. Together we’ll make sure our staff are ready, as they are each day, to do the very best they can for every one of our patients, always.