Cumbria's university refreshes retired healthcare professionals' clinical skills to expand pool able to give vaccination

Cumbria's university refreshes retired healthcare professionals' clinical skills to expand pool able to give vaccination 

In a drive to do their bit during the pandemic, the University of Cumbria offered healthcare staff in the north of the county refresher training in administering the Covid-19 vaccination.

The rapidly devised programme, trained 40 healthcare staff so far, revising their clinical skills in administering the vaccination but also spotting the signs of anaphylactic shock and basic life support.

The stipulation of the training was that all attending professionals were registered with the relevant regulatory bodies to qualify for a place.

Participants included doctors, nurses and healthcare assistants who have retired or moved into different fields of work, whom after completing the training will expand the pool of qualified clinical professionals who can administer the vaccination in their communities.

The NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), identified a requirement to expand its workforce practised in vaccinations just before the Christmas break.

Principal lecturer, Ian Corrie, took the call and immediately set about creating the bespoke programme from scratch drawing on many years of expertise.

Members of the nursing lecturing team, Dr Lindy Hatfield and Lisa Smith delivered the clinical skills session and a recent paramedic practise graduate Dan Brackenbury, now working for the North West Ambulance Service, lead the life support skills session.

Ian Corrie said; “We were approached by colleagues at the CCG shortly before Christmas who wanted to refresh the training of some of their staff in dispensing the Covid 19 vaccination.

“We were more than happy to oblige as we often work with employers to develop bespoke programmes to meet their educational needs.

“This request was obviously urgent and so it required a real team effort across the university to deliver on time and we were more than happy to do our bit in this next phase to help prevent the further spread of the virus.”

This news comes after the CCG revealed data that every Primary Care Network (PCN) across north Cumbria is now delivering the Covid-19 vaccine to over 80s and care home residents and staff.

There are eight PCNs – groups of GP practices working together in local areas – and the vaccine is now being delivered from nine locations.

Ed Tallis, director of primary care for the CCG, said: “We were delighted that the University of Cumbria was able to develop and deliver this training so quickly.

“Bringing doctors, nurses and healthcare assistants who have retired, or moved into different areas of work, back into the general practice workforce has been vital.

“The roll-out of the covid vaccine programme in primary care has been a super-human effort, and this support has been invaluable to help us reach our most vulnerable patients as quickly as we can.”

There are plans in the pipeline to roll out similar programmes for Health Education England and the team are ready to be deployed when required.

While national restrictions are in place, the university is following Government guidance by continuing with its blended learning model, (both online and face-to-face teaching), for all its health, social, policing and teaching courses.

For the time being and until at least 1 March, all other courses will be taught online. This approach will be reviewed by Government in mid-February when they will advise universities on any changes to the existing approach.