This Saturday in South East London, on a cold February morning, a former TFL bus pulled up into the car park at the University of Greenwich. Unlike the usual red you would expect to see on a double decker bus, this bus was blue. Along the side and front of the bus were the words ‘NHS Covid- 19 Vaccination Service’; a mobile vaccination centre provided by Gogodoc with NHS partnership.
At Gogodoc, one of our key aims has always been about bringing healthcare closer to the patient. At a time when there were many apps coming onto the market to see doctors virtually, we started a service that aimed to visit you at home and bring the doctor to your door step, whether to your home or your workplace. As part of this plan, we invested in a bus which we converted into a modern mobile clinic space. The aim was to bring the bus to places of work or communities where we would be able to offer health checks and services such as flu vaccines right at the patient’s location. Sadly as with many aspects of life, Covid had ground our planned mobile bus services to a halt as we had to move towards virtual consultations. We at Gogodoc have been looking at ways we could support the Covid efforts. For example, in North West London we have been providing home visiting services in collaboration with the NHS hubs there.
When the UK vaccination programme was kicking off, I had a conversation with my NHS colleagues and the idea of using our bus to get the vaccines into parts of the community who did not have a vaccine site was sparked. As it happens, the CCG and Public Health in Greenwich were exploring ideas as well. Two weeks ago, I spoke with Public Health directly and offered the services of the Gogodoc bus. A fortnight saw an incredible feat of collaboration between Gogodoc, Greenwich Public Health, Greenwich Health Federation, Charlton Athletic Community Trust and Greenwich CCG as well as partners providing sites for the bus to visit at short notice. Two weeks from conception to delivery; a stressful yet rewarding project. As the AstraZeneca vaccine does not have the same limitations as the Pfizer vaccine in storage and delivery, use of the vaccine in a remote service is more realistic.
Added to this, remote working allows us to avoid patients travelling long distances, using public transport or mixing indoors for any length of time, particularly when it comes to the vulnerable population being targeted in the top priority groups. It was a special moment to arrive at the Covid Vaccination Bus and see patients queueing up and waiting to have their vaccines. Patients were brought in through the front door, administered the vaccine in the clinic space and then guided out through the back door. An efficient, convenient and safe way for patients to have their vaccines. A successful realisation of one of Gogodoc’s main aims to bring healthcare closer to our patients whether they are in the NHS or private sector.