GP practices in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire are praising the efforts of all the volunteers involved in the COVID-19 vaccination programme as they celebrate three months of delivering the vaccine to local communities.
Monday 15 March marks three months since vaccinations began at GP practice clinics and during this time over 500 volunteers aged from 16 to 75 have joined in the effort.
Volunteers, including students, farmers, air crew, pilots, bar staff, artists, camera-men, drivers, lawyers and retired doctors, nurses and dentists have all given up their spare time to help with the roll-out of the UK’s biggest ever vaccination programme.
Retired doctors, Dr Janet Spence and her husband Dr David Spence, are part of the volunteer team at Network 4 Primary Care Network in South Gloucestershire. Janet said:
Supporting our colleagues with vaccinating their patients has been a brilliant experience. It’s so uplifting to work as part of a GP surgery team again and to be back in a patient-facing role helping with the COVID-19 response. David and I were keen to get involved as soon as we could, so we started off marshalling outside the practice and then completed our online training so we could vaccinate and act as clinical shift leads.
As well as the volunteers, thousands of staff members are involved in the vaccination programme across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, including doctors, nurses, health care assistants, paramedics, administrators and managers working across 50 different sites, not only in GP practices but also in community centres, sports grounds and village halls.
In Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire we have vaccinated over 300,000 people in the top priority groups – 40% of the eligible population - with around 75% of these vaccinations taking place in GP clinics.
Dr Andrew Platt and Dr Sarah Colthurst, GPs at Bridge View Medical Primary Care Network, which has more than 200 volunteers on its books, said:
The volunteers are an integral part of the vaccination programme and they’ve been doing a tremendous job at helping get our local population vaccinated during the past three months.
We’d all like to say a huge thank you to them for the fantastic work they are doing. We wouldn’t have been able to get this far without them. In recognition and thanks for the support we have received from our volunteers, Bridge View Medical is donating £10,000 to charity, split equally between Covax and local Bristol charities, as voted for by our volunteers and staff.
A volunteer at Bridge View added:
Normally I’m a student, so this has been a totally new experience for me. I feel really proud to be working on the largest vaccination programme in the history of the NHS. There’s a great team atmosphere and although we sometimes have to brave the elements in the cold and rain, it’s all worth it to see how grateful the patients are to be vaccinated.