Vaccination centres 'failing to fully use legion of volunteer former health workers', claims former Doncaster midwife

A former Doncaster midwife says the NHS is failing to fully use highly trained volunteers to take the pressure of current frontline staff.

Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 12:00 pm

Christine Livingston, who worked at a senior clinical level at Doncaster Royal Infirmary until 2014, says she and others with medical backgrounds have volunteered to work as vaccinators and completed training courses.

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But instead of carrying out vaccinations, they have been asked to meet people at the entrance and tell them where to go.

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One of Doncaster's vaccination centres at the Keepmoat Stadium

Mrs Livingston, from Bessacarr, was a midwife for 42 years, and believes people like her should be carrying out jabs to free up current NHS staff to work in hospitals, helping deal with NHS backlogs in treatments which have resulted from the pandemic.

She said: “Myself and other recently retired HCP (healthcare professional) friends, a doctor, a dentist, two nurses and a midwife, all undertook volunteer vaccinator training with the NHS and St John Ambulance. We did hours of on-line training, and a day face-to-face training. I was so humbled by the enthusiasm of other non-professional volunteers I met on my training day. So here we all are, raring to go.

But she said the NHS was only using them to direct and monitor people.

”This is a huge waste of talent and free resources,” she said. “Each vaccination centre needs a number of practising HCPs to supervise and provide the professional accountability, of course. But all the others could be redeployed back into the hospitals to do what only practising HCPs can do and catch up on the backlog of surgery, or backfill to allow those who have been in ITU (Intensive Therapy Unit) and Covid wards to take annual leave and have a well earned break.”

Retired midwife Christine Livingston

The NHS says it has enough vaccinators to deliver the vaccine it currently has and has been recruiting and training more volunteers, who will be drafted in as more supplies become available.

An NHS North East and Yorkshire spokesperson, said: “Vaccinating over three million people in the North East and Yorkshire has been supported thanks to the hard work and dedication of thousands volunteers, alongside NHS staff, and they will continue to play a key part in our vaccination drive in line with available supply as our programme continues to accelerate.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.