Biggleswade Community Hospital celebrates staff and volunteers as vaccination centre closes

Staff administered 35,000 jabs to protect patients from Covid-19.

By Joanna Gravett
Friday, 3rd September 2021, 8:41 am
Updated Friday, 3rd September 2021, 8:42 am

Staff and volunteers from the Biggleswade Community Hospital vaccination centre celebrated the end of an era after administering 35,000 jabs to protect patients from Covid-19.

On Tuesday (August 31), the team gathered to recognise their hard work and care by holding a barbecue to give thanks for everyone’s hard work.

The centre saw its last patient on Monday, while there was a ‘big tidy up’ on the Tuesday before the party.

A job well done: smiles all round at Biggleswade Community Hospital.

Teresa McDonald, vaccination site manager, said: “It went really well. All our volunteers turned up; they have been marvellous throughout and we gave them their certificates.

“All the nurses and admin there jelled well as a team. It was quite sad for some people, as it came to an end, but it was never meant to last forever.

“I was really glad that we could say thank you to our volunteers. It’s been great.”

The volunteers at the community hospital were outside in all weathers to meet and greet patients as they drove into the car park and let patients know where to go upon entering the hospital.

'Big Paul and Little Paul' were on secondment from the fire service, which was a collaboration with the NHS. They helped to manage the site and in the early days they were also responsible for all the volunteers.

They also offered out masks and hand sanitiser, while some supported admin with reception tasks and others helped in the observation centre.

Teresa said: “The public were lovely. We had times when we were really busy, but we got the whole process very streamlined and I think the public appreciated how swiftly ‘in and out’ they were.”

The vaccination team would also like to say a huge thank you to Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, St John Ambulance and Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust for their support.

Encouraging others to have the vaccination, Teresa added: “It’s not just protecting them, it’s protecting others as well. If you keep yourself healthy then you will be protecting the elderly and vulnerable, or those who can’t have the vaccine.”

Biggleswade Community Hospital.

Teresa retired on February 2, but stayed on to help the vaccination centre when it was set up in March. She added: “It’s been a wonderful and a really nice way to end my career.”

Sarah Browne, Director of Nursing and Quality, Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust, added: “Sincere thanks to everyone including volunteers, partners and NHS staff who have worked around the clock to deliver this programme, and helped to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, since March 2021.”

A spokesman for Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group said: “NHS staff continue to work hard to deliver the largest vaccination drive in our history.

“We offer residents in Central Bedfordshire a number of options to ensure they can get their covid-19 vaccinations, these include a large vaccination site at Watling House in Dunstable, and local high street pharmacies, some of which hold walk-in sessions with no appointment needed.

Biggleswade Community Hospital.

Details of all our vaccination sites can be found at:“Drop in sessions are available by visiting either the BLMK website:“No appointments are needed for our walk-in clinics, anyone wanting their vaccination can drop by at a time to suit them. Second doses are available to people who had their first dose a minimum 8 weeks before.”

Biggleswade Community Hospital.
Biggleswade Community Hospital.
Biggleswade Community Hospital
Biggleswade Community Hospital.