Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine inclusion: vaccination programme - phase one

An overview of the inclusive approach adopted during the first stage of the COVID-19 vaccinations programme (December 2020 - September 2021). This includes examples of health board approaches and activities delivered in collaboration with stakeholders, and national programme activity and support.

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6. Workforce

Programme objective:

Workforce are able to support everyone to have a positive healthcare experience.

Examples of national programme support:

Mandatory staff training covering equality and diversity is provided for all NHS staff. There is also a variety of additional resources available to support staff in relation to inequalities and person-centred care.

Offers of support from the third sector to provide tailored staff training or resources in regards to specific conditions or issues were shared with health boards. For example Deafblind Scotland online courses, and Enable Scotland resources.

To meet the volume and pace required to deliver the vaccination programme as quickly as possible and to reduce the unprecedented pressures on the NHS, military support was brought in to help health boards in various roles including planning, logistics, operational set up, as well as vaccination administration. The national programme provided clear messaging to all health boards that although a military presence may be supportive for some, it may also make some people more hesitant (for example asylum seekers and refugees).

The national programme recognised there were specific groups that required more specialist expertise to support people to feel comfortable with getting the vaccine and encouraged health boards to provide this. For example, the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Nursing Officer wrote to health board Chief Executives in February 2021 to encourage them to mobilise Learning Disabilities Nurses to provide support for those with learning disabilities who may find the vaccination more stressful. This letter can be accessed on the Scottish Government website.

The Red Cross National Volunteer Co-ordination Hub, established in February 2021, has provided over 46 thousand volunteer hours to the full range of COVID-19 response programmes, across nearly all health boards and local authority areas, drawing assistance from around 27 separate voluntary organisations. Volunteers have played an important role, alongside NHS staff and established NHS volunteers, in helping members of the public get the best possible experience when receiving their vaccination. Volunteers involved have fed back that they have felt highly valued and have been welcomed, briefed and well looked-after.

Examples of health board approaches and activities:

Health boards ensured that all staff and volunteers involved in the delivery of the vaccinations programme had the appropriate training, skills and knowledge to support people from every community in Scotland.

Many health boards also had dedicated inclusion and equalities leads within the programme to ensure that an inclusive approach was considered and embedded.
All health boards tailored their staffing approach for different groups in the population, providing skilled and expert staff to support with answering questions
and concerns.

Some examples of workforce (and volunteers) supporting the inclusive approach include:

  • NHS Ayrshire and Arran: Ran a maternity clinic with midwives in attendance to offer support and advice on fertility and pregnancy related queries.
  • NHS Borders: Held a clinic specifically for pregnant women and their partners in Borders General Hospital with an obstetrician to answer questions and concerns
  • NHS Forth Valley: Took up offer from Scottish Ambulance Service staff to support with reaching people experiencing homelessness and the Gypsy / Traveller community; Paediatrics team led on vaccinations for at-risk 12-15 year old groups.
  • NHS Grampian: A member of the healthcare team attended large employer offices to answer any questions people had about the vaccine.
  • NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde: Created video of a staff nurse advising people if they had concerns because of misinformation, to seek accurate information by coming to speak to NHS vaccination teams or going to trusted source like NHS Inform.
  • NHS Highland: Used GPs to deliver to homeless people. Teams in NHS Highland that have the most interaction with this group supported with identifying suitable clinic locations.
  • NHS Lanarkshire: Ran an outreach programme for the Polish community led by a Polish Project Manager.
  • NHS Lothian: A Polish GP ran a question and answer session for the Polish community.
  • NHS Shetland: Worked closely with mental health and Learning Disability Nurses to ensure people who were hesitant came forward for both doses.



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