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Helping the Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System vaccinate patients against COVID-19

As a key system partner, Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit (MLCSU) is actively supporting the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Lancashire and South Cumbria. In partnership with system leaders, we helped to establish a network of vaccination services. We have been working closely together with colleagues from across the integrated care system (ICS), in much the same way as when we developed a tactical command room to help manage winter pressures.

Across Lancashire, the Midlands and North West, we are also supporting over 100 vaccination centres with IT and other services. Our partnership and system approach, following government direction, is enabling the most vulnerable patients to receive their vaccines quickly and safely.

Strategic Vaccinations Operations Centre

Rapidly forming vaccination centres across Lancashire and South Cumbria was no easy task. When the programme took off in November, there was a need for a control room. A Strategic Vaccinations Operations Centre (SVOC) was created at our Jubilee House site in Lancashire with the full support of ICS leads. The centre is resourced with members of MLCSU, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), trust and wider system colleagues. Having recently built another tactical command room, also in Jubilee House, we were well positioned to support the setup of the SVOC.

Gold Command Winter Pressures Room

The earlier command room’s purpose was to support the operational activity of the Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS organisations and Out of Hospital services facing winter pressures. The Gold Command Room is a tactical support service where we monitor and analyse pressure on individual trusts and organisations – number of people in A&E, COVID-19 cases, people who cannot be admitted because they are waiting for a COVID-19 test result, and other issues such as staff sickness, lack of beds, discharge delays, ambulances queueing up, and so on. Data is looked at from a system perspective and capacity redistributed to where it is needed most. For example, pressure can be taken off one hospital or ambulances diverted to another. Business intelligence expertise is fully covered by MLCSU analysts.

System working

Work at the command room, as well as the SVOC, is ongoing seven days a week in collaboration with partners across Lancashire CCGs, all trusts, NHS England and Improvement (NHSEI) leads and ICS executives. It has made a phenomenal difference in terms of collaborative working, system thinking and helping each other for the benefit of patients.

Across Lancashire and South Cumbria, the vaccination programme is fully coordinated from the SVOC:

  • We provide strategic nursing capacity, together with chief nurses from the local system, to ensure resilience through clinical governance arrangements and senior clinical oversight of vaccination delivery
  • We provide strategic pharmacy capability, with the medicines lead ICS system role supported by our Medicines Management and Optimisation (MMO) Team
  • We have supported the development of seven vaccinations sites in Lancashire and South Cumbria including our estate in Jubilee House and Blackburn Cathedral’s crypt
  • We have supported the vaccine programme Board for Lancashire and South Cumbria with a range of other services, including managing the communications across partners to coordinate activity, programme and project management, equalities and diversity advice, IT and data advice as well as IT kit deployment.

Vaccination programme support elsewhere in the country

In addition to the huge amount of work we do directly with the ICS in Lancashire and South Cumbria, we also help individual trusts, PCNs and NHSEI with COVID-19 vaccinations across the Midlands and North West:

  • Digital enablement of more than 100 vaccination centres including training of staff on point of care delivery systems and technical support seven days a week
  • Data management for University Hospitals Birmingham
  • Pharmacists deployed to NHS Nightingale Hospital North West in Manchester
  • Over 50 additional members of MLCSU staff recruited to carry out employment checks of vaccination centre staff
  • Administration, project management, nurse training and marshals in other parts of the country.

A key part in mobilising the vaccination programme has been the outstanding work from multiple partners working collaboratively across the NHS, the Police, Fire Service, military and local authorities.

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