Published on: 3 August 2022

Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s Specialist Vaccination team have been awarded for a second time this year for offering a personalised COVID-19 vaccination service for those with severe mental illness, learning disabilities or autism, and have been named as regional winners at the NHS England regional recognition and celebration award event this month.

The Specialist Vaccination Team, who were nominated by the Integrated Care Board (ICB), won the ‘biggest contribution to those who are vulnerable and at risk’ category for supporting vulnerable people with receiving their vaccinations.

The team supported those who struggled with the prospect of getting vaccinated due to anxieties around receiving the vaccine, by offering a bespoke service to meet their needs and receive their vaccine in line with national advice.

Service users were offered appointments in quieter locations with sensory activities, music and fewer staff around for longer time periods. Vaccinators would also wear non-uniform clothes and nurses who knew the patients well would attend where possible.

Vaccinations were offered in people’s homes or on hospital wards to target more people in need of the vaccine, in a more comfortable location. The team have supported the delivery of the vaccination programme, which involved reducing inequalities in Derbyshire focusing particularly on engagement, availability and accessibility.

The programme was a combined effort delivered by the Trust’s nurses and Health Protection Unit team, and also involved partnership working with NHS Derby and Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), now known as the Integrated Care Board (ICB), and other organisations within Joined Up Care Derbyshire.

Richard Morrow, Assistant Director of Public and Physical Healthcare at Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, attended the regional award event. He said: “To win not one, but two regional awards is fantastic.

"The Specialist Vaccination team, with support from Joined Up Care Derbyshire partners, have been key in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic to vaccinate a cohort of vulnerable service users who have found the process an extremely daunting one.

“It is only right that this team have received regional recognition for their exceptional work.”

Dr Steven Lloyd, Medical Director of NHS Derby and Derbyshire's CCG and is the executive senior responsible officer for COVID-19 vaccination programme.

He said: “The specialist vaccination team embody all that is good about the Derbyshire approach to the programme and have been exceptional in their reach out to those most vulnerable and at need in our communities.

“It is a matter of great pride and celebration that this has been recognised more widely across the region and beyond and an outstanding credit to all involved in the team.”

The NHS England Regional Recognition and Celebration Awards celebrates those who have contributed to the health and care sector with initiatives that have had a real impact on communities.