A GP practice in Buckinghamshire rose to the challenge of delivering the childhood immunisation programme during COVID-19 and increased vaccination uptake rates.
During the Coronavirus pandemic, primary care services have had to rapidly change their working practices, not least in the continued delivery of the national childhood immunisation programme. With the increased pressure of delivering the national flu programme and COVID-19 vaccinations, in conjunction with the childhood immunisation programme, it is a great time to reflect on, learn from and celebrate the successes primary care have achieved in ensuring, wherever possible, children continue to receive vital vaccinations during one of the most challenging periods in primary care.
Wye Valley Surgery in High Wycombe faced many challenges maintaining and improving their preschool booster uptake rates over the last year. As the COVID-19 pandemic began in the spring of 2020, the surgery started working with the IIU team to address this. Several issues were identified which were impacting their uptake rates.
A multi-professional meeting took place between the IIU team and practice to discuss current challenges and an action plan was put in place to address these.
Working in collaboration with Wye Valley, the IIU team provided specific targeted support which empowered and enabled the practice to put innovative solutions in place, using a whole practice approach that achieved real benefits for the practice and their patients. These customer benefits included:
- Admin support had regular meetings with the IIU data lead. The data lead was able to offer training, which increased confidence in working with the various resources such as the weekly scheduling list and monthly missing immunisation report from CHIS
- With additional clearly defined admin support, the Practice Nurse’s capacity for immunising children and dealing with other immunisation related clinical issues increased, alongside gaining a greater understanding of how vital the administrative side to the immunisation programme was, to improving uptake rates.
- As each case was actioned the number of children with missing immunisations reduced considerably. This saved a great deal of admin time, as previously the same children would flag up every month.
- The IIU team provided monthly updates on practice uptake rates, so that real-time progress could be seen, which was very motivating for staff.
- The IIUT clinician was able to support the practice and Practice Nurse, by contacting parents regarding their children’s immunisation status and having clinical discussions with them. The Practice Nurse had limited capacity, so this was very helpful.
- Practice staff understood that partnership working was key in increasing uptake rates. Action plans were put in place with follow-up meetings to monitor progress. This ensured practice staff and the IIU team understood who was responsible for key tasks/processes.
- At the outset, the practice had one Practice Nurse immunising children. To ensure continuity in their absence, the other Practice Nurse now assists with the childhood immunisation delivery on a regular basis to maintain confidence and competence.
- The practice has also identified additional admin staff who can stand in if the Admin Lead is unavailable. This ensures the weekly reports for CHIS continue to be run and actioned.
With the support of SCW’s Improving Immunisation Uptake (IIU) Team, vaccination uptake rates for Wye Valley Surgery increased across primary, one-year, and preschool immunisations between May and December 2020.
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If you would like more information on the Improving Immunisation Uptake Team, please contact the team via email or telephone.