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‘Real-time’ adjustments to Covid vaccine clinic key to reducing wastage, says PCN


By James Hacker
4 February 2021

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Creating a system for administering Covid-19 vaccines that accounts for sudden or unexpected changes helps reduce the number of doses wasted, a PCN has reported.

In an NHS England case study, published on Tuesday (2 February), Britley Oxford Terrace PCN said that tweaking its Covid vaccination clinic in ‘real time’ had enabled the network to make rapid improvements where needed and ensure all available vaccines were used.  

This included reducing its appointment time from 12 minutes to four, which freed up clinicians and allowed the PCN to offer more slots, the case study said.

The PCN, which consists of two practices in Gateshead Tyne and Wear and supports more than 32,000 patients, was one of the first in England to begin vaccinating patients.

For its first vaccination clinic, the PCN received 975 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to inoculate patients at one site over four days.

Staff vaccinated 965 patients over 3.5 days, the case study found, and only 10 vaccines went to waste ‘due to leakages in the phial which was beyond the PCN’s control’.

Reserve list

According to the case study, on the first day of the clinic it took 12 minutes to vaccinate a patient, but by day two staff were ‘so familiar with the process’ they were able to reduce this to six minutes and now it takes only four.

This meant the PCN could invite more patients to new slots, it added.

The PCN found, however, that patients at its Oxford Terrace practice were generally less able to travel to the site, and so it contacted Birtley patients initially.

It also created a contingency plan for excess doses and factored staff capacity to contact a reserve list of patients into the process. The reserve list included NHS staff in high-risk groups.

‘On the last day clinics were fully booked but there were 16 DNAs,’ the case study said, so the slots were offered ‘to those on the reserve list’.

The CCG and local council were also able to reach an agreement with a local busy company to allow patients whose bus passes were only valid for off-peak travel to travel in for early morning slots at the vaccination clinic, it added.

Sheinaz Stansfield, the PCN’s transformation lead, said: ‘In just three days and under immense pressure, we planned and went live with our Covid vaccine site.

‘Using quality improvement helped us work through a structure of implementing change, testing in real-time and making tweaks to our process so every available dose of vaccine was used.’

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