The vaccination drive is well underway in the UK, with more than 22 million people now having received their first dose of one of the three vaccines authorised for use by the UK government. It is the story of the moment – finally, a little light at the end of the long, dark tunnel of the coronavirus pandemic.
The whole healthcare ecosystem has played its part in this programme: doctors, nurses and healthcare assistants; hospital, health centres and GP clinics. But here, we are going to pay special and well-deserved attention to the role of community pharmacy and pharmacists in the push for everyone in the country to have received at least one dose of a vaccine by the end of July.
Across the UK, pharmacists are rolling up sleeves and administering doses of these life-saving vaccines. There are currently over 70 community pharmacy-led vaccination sites in the UK, all of which have the capacity to vaccinate over 1000 people per week.
Pharmacists that we at The Locum App have spoken have welcomed this extra responsibility with open arms and are proud of the contribution they have been making to a historical vaccine rollout.
Yet with the extra responsibility, come the need for more hands on deck. Pharmacists who in ‘normal’ times would be dispensing medication, helping patients with their queries or delivering other vital health services are busy on the front line, giving people their vaccines and providing protection to our nation’s population.
That’s where locum pharmacists and platforms like The Locum App come in. When extra help is needed, locums are always there to provide it. Whether that means administering vaccines themselves or covering in store, handling the other essential pharmacy work for their colleagues who are vaccinating people, the job locums do is a vital part of this nationwide programme.
The Locum App’s booking service make it easier for locums to see where their services are required and for pharmacy managers to seek out those locums and cover shifts. The app even allows pharmacies to virtually invite trusted locums to fill the available slots at the touch of a button.
Additionally, The Locum App’s all-in-one scheduling platform means that locums and full-time staff can be managed through the same system, saving time and energy.
That is what is happening at Jardines, an independent chain of community pharmacies and Locum App client that runs two vaccinations sites, one in Buckinghamshire and another in Bedfordshire. Jardines partnered with The Locum App earlier this year and have been experiencing the advantages that the platform can provide as they schedule their staff and organise their rotas during this busy period.
The locum pharmacists they have recruited have also been an important part of managing workloads and distributing responsibilities. Indeed, without the locums who work in their stores it would not be possible for Jardines to provide the outstanding vaccination service that they have whilst maintaining their community pharmacies functioning as normal.
The role pharmacists – whether full-time or locums – are playing in the rollout of the most ambitious vaccination programme in British history is essential. Together with the rest of the healthcare network in this country, they are giving us hope at a very difficult time.