family on beach

Given the current economic climate, I feel in a fortunate position to be heading away for an abroad holiday this summer. We go in the coming days seeking that glorious foreign weather….. but with the current sunshine and immense heat here in the UK, you do start to question one’s thinking…. especially given the rising COVID cases. 

I'm not one who packs their suitcase early or last minute for that matter. In the middle I guess. I also travel light, which means there's not much to pack. But I do like creating a checklist. It's got standard stuff on it like euros, passport, phone charger, anti-ageing cream …etc.  And for some time now, it has increased by one extra item - NHS COVID Pass  - making sure my NHS App is up-to-date with a valid COVID Pass.

I think the NHS App is brilliant and it's great to see the plans ahead providing citizens with access to their own health information and services. Digital Health and Care plan reveals £2bn will be allocated to digitise sector

We, at SCW, play an important role in the NHS COVID pass eco-system. Our service captures vaccination events directly from vaccination sites and national systems. It also flows data across the end-to-end architecture ensuring accurate reporting. We also provide a data quality service, supporting the amendment and entry of vaccination events that are either incorrect, missing or may have been administered abroad - a vitally important service enabling citizens to travel for business or pleasure.  

Due to my anxiety levels, I've already logged into the App and confirmed all ok with my pass. So first tick done on my holiday planning checklist! 

As mentioned in my last blog, similar to the NHS App, my team at the national Immunisation Management Service is also looking further ahead to see how our learnings, systems and services can be broadened for wider benefit. My vision is to transform the national Select & Invite delivery model for all immunisation and screening services, providing a safe, scalable service that leaves nobody behind.

Over the past year or so, our team has delivered some ground-breaking uptake initiatives, such as:

  • Supporting North East & Yorkshire who had limited understanding of why there was low COVID vaccination uptake among their Chinese population. Our analysis identified the highest unvaccinated was in the 18-29 age band and with ‘ghost’ university students being the key determining factor
  • Working with the North West region, it was identified that within the 2-3-year-old cohort there was a 15-25% lower uptake of the annual flu vaccination. Our analysis of outbound calls free-text information identified that the predominant issue was accessibility. We supported a more localised, multi-language and personalised approach. This led to an increase of 36% in vaccinations.
  • In Lancashire & South Cumbria the local Pakistani COVID booster uptake was 10% lower than the national average in the 40-54 ‘at risk’ cohorts. We developed culturally sensitive call scripts which led to a ~7% increase in contact centre bookings across ethnicity groups and a 10% increase in deprivation groups. 

It's important we leverage the investment (not just ££ but knowledge) from our experience driving uptake since the start of the pandemic and build upon our collaborative tried and tested approaches nationally and regionally, maximising reach and focusing on reducing the effect of inequalities.

In order to achieve this, we need to be guided by the following principles:

  • Reuse existing components where possible
  • Reduce costs
  • Protect vital know-how and keeps it in the NHS
  • Ensure system interoperability to enable productivity and innovation
  • Deliver scalable services that align to demand and forecasts needs
  • Continue to provide a collaborative approach to ensure efficiency and agility
  • Ensure a digital-first approach
  • Continuous improvement that focusses on optimum approach for hard-to-reach groups and addressing inequalities to ensure no one is left behind

We have started on this journey, working collaboratively with our colleagues within the national vaccination programme and we look forward to the future.

Right..what's next on my checklist…

For more information about the national Immunisation Management Service or to talk about the future of immunisation services, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Director of Public Health Services

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