Stort Valley medics and volunteers celebrate completion of vaccination programme at Bishop's Stortford Football Club
After administering more than 33,500 Covid-19 vaccinations, the medical team based at Bishop's Stortford Football Club have completed their immunisation programme.
The clinic at the Woodside stadium was set up at the start of the year by staff from the Stort Valley and Villages Primary Care Network (PCN), which represents Church Street, South Street and Parsonage surgeries in the town, Sawbridgeworth's Bell Street practice and Much Hadham Health Centre.
In all, 100 health workers and a team of 25 volunteers – including Tracey Matthews, who co-ordinated the vital parking marshals – ensured the smooth roll-out of jabs.
Their contribution was recognised at a celebratory tea party before the venue is handed over to Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust, which has been vaccinating patients at the Avanti Meadows school at St Michael's Hurst, which is set to open as the Bishop's Stortford North estates' first primary in September.
During the festivities, 50 crystal paperweights were presented as thank yous, including one to the Bishop's Stortford Independent for its support during the pandemic.
Dr Sian Stanley, a Church Street partner and clinical director of the PCN, reflected on the pressures of the past six months as first the Pfizer and then the AstraZeneca vaccines became available: "The high points were that the GP and nursing team from the Stort Valley and Villages PCN saved many lives, which allowed society to open up once again – this is an outstanding achievement.
"Vaccinating those patients in residential homes, housebound patients and patients with a learning disability was a significant achievement as well."
Her practice was recognised with a Purple Star Strategy award. The citation reads: "For demonstrating a commitment to enabling people with a learning disability to be Covid-vaccinated by using a person-centred approach and making all the reasonable adjustments necessary."
Dr Stanley said: "The low spot was when the vaccine failed to be delivered and a full clinic had been booked, but arrangements were made for a box of vaccine to be collected from Enfield and the clinic was finally held that day."
Now she and the area's other GPs and their surgery staff are looking to the future. "Practices have been seeing patients throughout the pandemic. The pandemic is still present and there are the effects of long Covid to address along with the mental health and grief issues after lockdown. It will take a long time for everyone in society to come to terms with what has happened and to heal," said Dr Stanley.
Last year, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, invited Dr Stanley to join its Leaders Panel, an initiative to help shape the future of the health and care system in the aftermath of Covid-19, made up of a panel of 100 senior health care leaders.
Last month, Dr Stanley and her colleagues nationwide came up with three core issues for restoring primary care as part of the confederation's NHS Reset Delivering the Recovery campaign.
They are to 'build back better' and differently through adopting population health management and a system- and place-based approach to common problems; setting priorities and managing public expectations by being open with the public about what is achievable; investing in infrastructure including digital solutions.