Sometimes I feel like I must be Bobby Ewing from the 80s’ American soap opera ‘Dallas’. If you’re too young to remember, after a particularly bad few months, when during the storyline he’d actually died, the viewer was taken back to a scene in the shower where, thankfully, the last few months had all been a terrible dream.
This is what’s happening now, right?
I was thinking back to heady times last year when my flu plan consisted of simply ordering in vaccines, diarising a flu-planning meeting and ensuring that everyone’s immunisation training was up to date.
My actual flu season, though, has gone something like this:
- No time for said flu-planning meeting.
- Hope nurses are trained up; no time to check.
- Receive guidance that we’ll be vaccinating other age groups.
- Read in the media that over-50s will be eligible.
- Receive amended guidance that we may be vaccinating additional cohort but not just yet.
- Field hundreds of calls from enthusiastic people in their 50s who read in the tabloids that they’re now eligible.
- Try to recover from hundreds of patients in their 50s who are angry as there’s no vaccine for them.
- Source tens of different articles about whether nurses should or shouldn’t change PPE between each vaccine.
- Try to fight my way out of my office due to thousands of visors that keep being sent to make sure we have enough masks.
- Decorate the waiting room with so many one-way and socially distanced floor stickers that it looks like a Nintendo dance mat.
- Receive strong emails that advise practices to recall everyone who’s eligible.
- Attempt to order additional vaccines for the increased numbers; the computer says no.
- Field more calls from angry patients who’ve refused the vaccination for the last 30 years but now want it – today!
- Read in the media that there’s more chance of dying if you catch both COVID-19 and the flu.
- Field another thousand calls from patients wanting the vaccination, despite no additional vaccines being available, who then tell you it’ll be your fault if they die from COVID.
- Try again to order additional vaccines. Computer still says no!
- Organise a socially distanced flu clinic. It won’t matter if we hold it in a community hall, in the surgery, in the car or frankly on the moon; someone will complain it’s not safe.
This is why I want to be Bobby Ewing from ‘Dallas’. Surely, it’s all been a terrible dream…
Happy flu season!
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