Arch is a Brighton-based GP surgery specialising in the care of people who are experiencing housing insecurity and homelessness. Arch Health CIC exists to explore every opportunity to improve the health and well-being of people who are facing homelessness.
In February, Arch began delivering a mobile vaccination service, reaching out to many of Brighton and Hove’s residents who are without permanent homes. Whilst many of these residents were already known to be eligible for the vaccine, it was also known that many would experience challenges getting to central vaccination sites. It was vital to ensure they are not missed out.
The team started at one of the larger hostels in the city. On the day, residents eagerly lined up in a socially distanced queue, and the vaccination process worked extremely smoothly. Arch director Hannah Bishop (Advanced Nurse Practitioner) led a full team from Arch, St John Ambulance, Sussex Community Foundation Trust and Justlife (who provide floating support to this client group) to ensure all clients were well supported, and the process went smoothly. This first day out on the road which was a great success. People were pleased to be offered the vaccine in the Mobile Treatment Centre, and take up was high. Day one finished with 54 people having receiving their first dose of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine. Hannah said, “it’s been fantastic to be able to reach so many people in one day with just a small team. So many vulnerable people who would be at risk of complications and an extended hospital stay if they did contract the virus, so it’s been really good to get started vaccinating this group today”.
In order to support this high uptake, location schedules are being worked up a week ahead of time. The areas assessed to have the greatest need in the city are being prioritised. Once the schedule is decided, the vaccination team liaise in advance with the venue managers and staff to understand any unique issues presented by these locations, and give them leaflets and information, so that they can engage residents and ensure they are informed and on board to receive their vaccination when the mobile unit arrives. Much credit should be given to the hard work put in by these accommodation providers, who are working really hard to ensure a good turnout at all the locations the team have set up at so far. Enthusiasm for, and take up of the vaccine remains high. Frontline staff have been eligible for vaccinating in earlier rounds, at the central Brighton locations, as part of the drive to vaccinate healthcare and Frontline workers, and many have taken it, which has helped persuade clients.
Arch’s vaccination service will be running for eight weeks initially, three days a week with a target of vaccinating around 1000 people. On Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays they will be visiting key locations in the city to reach as many people as possible who fit the criteria for vaccination, and who are currently homeless or vulnerably housed.
The team are also registering new clients and/or encouraging anyone who isn’t registered with a GP to register. The team will vaccinate any eligible clients that they meet on site who request the vaccine, regardless of whether they are registered with Arch or another GP. If a patient is not registered with Arch, but does have a GP, then team just enters the appropriate surgery on the Pinnacle notes. If they don’t have a GP at all then a phone number is taken and one of the admin team will follow up with them afterward to help them register.
Arch CEO Gary Bishop said, “It is vital that we all work together to take the vaccines to clinically vulnerable people who might otherwise find it difficult to access the bigger vaccination sites and we are very proud to be offering this service in partnership with St. John Ambulance, Sussex Community Foundation Trust, Justlife and other local organisations. This service will benefit Brighton and Hove as a whole, supporting our city getting back to normal as soon as possible.”
For more information please contact:
Hannah Bishop, Nurse Practitioner, Arch Healthcare
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