Hi, my name is Fiona. I am the Vice-chair of Poplar Grove PPG. I am volunteering at the COVID-19 vaccination centre at Stoke Mandeville stadium.

Initially, I went to help out prior to the centre opening. I was helping by doing basic jobs such as laminating and labelling baskets for paperwork. Then, I was asked to take part in the ‘Patient Journey Video’. This was made with Practice Managers from Poplar Grove Surgery, Oakfield Surgery, Haddenham Surgery and Weston Grove Surgery. They wanted to use someone who hadn’t seen the ‘route’, so I was the trial patient.

My first ‘live’ shift, I was given the task of putting the paperwork together for the clinic the following day. It was a fabulous atmosphere and it was great to see people from different surgeries mixing together and helping each other, along with seeing patients so happy to be getting their vaccine.

My next shift, I checked the paperwork and unpacked PPE. Later on in the shift, I moved onto the floor and acted as a ‘runner’. This is where I directed patients to the available vaccination booths. Being ‘front-facing’ made me appreciate just how much all the healthcare professionals and volunteers worked together. From manning the car park, checking patients in, to wiping down chairs after use and entering information on to the computer systems.

All of the patients I came into contact with were all extremely grateful to be getting their vaccine.

It is fabulous to see GP’s & nurses who have come out of retirement to help. It was also amazing to see the dedication of the surgery staff who are giving up their days off to support the smooth running of the facility.

The patients I have had the chance to chat to whilst they were sitting in the observation area were all extremely complimentary about the whole experience. From the car park volunteers who ensure the smooth running and free flow of traffic, to the volunteers who help with wheelchair users. Also, the check-in team, the administration team, the clinical staff who give the jabs, and the pharmacy teams preparing the vaccine. Everyone has been working so well.

I feel very lucky to have been able to be involved. It is a privilege to be involved in such an important landmark moment in time. It’s also inspiring to see so many staff, from across 9 GP surgeries, working together.

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