‘I have never worked harder’: Meet the unsung hero who masterminded Horsham’s vaccine roll out

When people think of the vaccine roll out they picture doctors and nurses jabbing people with the lifesaving inoculation.

Friday, 12th February 2021, 2:26 pm

But behind the scenes a raft of administrative staff work exhausting hours to make sure the roll out goes smoothly.

One such staff member is Lucy Barber – practice manager at Park Surgery in Horsham.

Alongside senior partner Dr David Holwell, Lucy orchestrated the vaccine roll out at the surgery which has to date administered more than 10,000 lifesaving jabs.

Lucy Barber, practice manger at Park Surgery. Photo: Park Surgery Media Company (Dr Samir Khan)

The surgery has been vaccinating patients from Park Surgery, Holbrook Surgery, Orchard Surgery and Riverside Medical Practice.

She said: “Both myself and my senior partner, Dr David Holwell were keen to take up the opportunity to become a local vaccination site for the COVID-19 vaccination programme after what we have all experienced as being a very difficult time.

“We have an amazing building in a central location and an enthusiastic team.”

Lots of hard work to prepare for and understand the vaccine was next, Lucy added. She said clinicians had to be trained, the site had to be signed off and thousands of patients needed to be phoned.

Anna Hughes and Frenki Morina, volunteers at the vaccine centre. Photo: Park Surgery Media Company (Dr Samir Khan)

Lucy added: “It has been a lot of hard work but extremely rewarding.

“My role in this programme has been to organise the clinics, co-ordinate the booking of patients across the Primary Care Network, count the vaccine during the clinics to ensure that every vaccine is given to the right cohort and feeding back figures and statistics to the CCG and NHS England.”

Surgery staff have been supported by volunteers who have stepped up to help the roll out go smoothly.

Lucy said: “The whole thing has been great especially witnessing my own daughter Anna Hughes aged 17 who has been volunteering and interacting with patients over 80 who have so much to give back.

“For me the most amazing thing has been us working together as a network across the four surgeries and the patients being so thankful.

“Working in Primary Care is challenging and hard work at the best of times but since the pandemic has been in our lives I have never worked harder.

“I’m looking forward to a more stable future because of the vaccine and the work we have done.”

Lucy’s daughter Anna said at the Covid vaccination clinics people have roles such as giving numbered tickets to patients on arrival, ensuring they wait in a socially distanced area, are called in order when the next clinician is ready, and regularly sanitising the waiting rooms. She added: “The job is so rewarding when patients show their thankfulness and you’d be surprised how many faces we remember, including number 295 who will always have a place in my heart as he was so sweet.

“As a young person, I’ve found lockdown extremely difficult as have so many others. Helping in the clinics has not only kept me busy but will also hopefully keep people safe.”