In February 2021 the NHS began offering COVID-19 vaccines to local authority social care workers.
With the vaccine roll out accelerating fast and delay in the ability for social care worker to book their vaccination via the national booking platform, there was a need to set up a local effective and secure booking system which could handle large volumes of appointments and be implemented quickly. The booking system also needed to function as a population health reporting system; keeping track on the numbers vaccinated from different boroughs, age brackets and ethnicity backgrounds.
ICHP was asked by the North West London Vaccination Programme, run by the North West Londond Collaboration of CCGs, to work with key stakeholders to identify and support implementation of a suitable solution that would allow local authority social care workers to book their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
The COVID-19 vaccine had begun being rolled out through the NHS’s national vaccine programme in early 2021, with key health workers amongst those given priority.
The programme set a date of February 13 to start vaccinating social care workers, and, in North West London (NW London) they could have the first dose administered either in a hospital hub or at a mass vaccination site.
At the time, the only mass vaccination site open was at Wembley, though others were planned to be opened as quickly as possible. Creating a need to set up and deploy a bespoke and effective approach to booking first dose vaccination for social care workers across North West London mass vaccination sites. Vaccination booking data was centrally captured, analysed and shared with local authority leads to gain a better understanding of uptake among staff group, borough, ethnicity and age to help inform targeted approaches to increase uptake where needed.
ICHP worked with the team at the Wembley vaccination centre and with local authorities across NW London to quickly understand the booking system that was in place, what worked well and challenges. We found that the established booking system was insufficient for the numbers expected and could lead to long term security issues, so we set about sourcing an alternative.
Working with key stakeholders we identified a list of requirements and criteria to help inform a rapid horizon scan and options appraisal which was shared with the NWL vaccination programme SRO for decision.
The platform that met all the criteria was called SimplyBook. The software was already being used by the NHS in 10 other STPs across the country, and had a separate NHS server to store data securely. SimplyBook had information governance processes in place on identifiable data, and a huge amount of programme support around it.
Once we had agreed the system we would be using we then engaged with the mass vaccination programme stakeholders to identify the key users who we could train on the platform, and who could then train others across both the live vaccination site and the planned ones.
The Wembley mass vaccination site could offer 200 clinics to social care staff every day, so we had to ensure that anyone using the booking system understood it completely and we helped them overcome any complexities.
We rapidly designed and delivered a one-stop-shop training session, as well as creating a library of resources for the booking system and identifying a team within the central vaccination team to hold the sustainability plan, who others could contact with questions and issues.
ICHP sourced and helped implement the booking system at the Wembley mass vaccination site in less than a week, allowing social care workers to begin booking their COVID-19 vaccines by the projected target date.
The SimplyBook system was then adopted by other NW London mass vaccination sites as they opened and over 2.5-months this booking platform has enabled more than 10,000 social care workers to book their vaccination appointments.