Hertfordshire County Council award Purple Star to Hertfordshire Community Trust for COVID-19 immunisation programme to people with learning disabilities

Posted: April 12 2021

Hertfordshire County Council award Purple Star to Hertfordshire Community Trust for COVID-19 immunisation programme to people with learning disabilities

Gavin Howcroft (Photo credit: PA)

According to Public Health England, people with learning disabilities are six times more likely to die from COVID-19 infection than others. The COVID-19 immunisation team at Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust decided to introduce simple steps to assist this group of individuals and to support wherever they could to help reduce any hesitancy in having the vaccine for people with Learning disabilities and ensure they have full access to this life saving treatment.

As a result we are delighted to announce that HCT has been awarded a Purple Star Certificate by Hertfordshire County Council in recognition of our COVID-19 vaccination work in “Bridging the Health Inequality Gap for all those on [our] Learning Disability Register”. This was achieved through actions such as:

  • Creating a “walk through video” with Gavin Howcroft, a person with learning disabilities, that received national recognition
  • Providing Easy Read Information
  • Providing a quieter area for people who are struggling with the environment and sensory overload
  • Staff spending longer with individuals with a Learning Disability to ensure they have time to process information and give them the best chance possible for successful vaccination
  • Utilising staff who have some experience working with individuals with a Learning Disability and arranging for specific appointments when they will be available to provide additional support
  • Delivering vaccines via a “drive through” process if necessary

Hilary Gardener from Hertfordshire County Council said about the award: “Your passion, drive and commitment to overcoming barriers through using person-centred reasonable adjustments to be able to successfully vaccinate these people is commendable and an example to everyone. Thank you so much for taking the time and understanding to achieve such a fantastic success rate. Those people who are reluctant to have the vaccine are the ones who would be likely to equally struggle with the complying with treatment if they did contract COVID-19 and required hospitalisation. Every vaccine achieved in this patient group truly is one that has potentially saved a life and that is down to the team work of everyone involved in the planning, supporting and delivering of the vaccines.”

Cath Slater, Deputy Director of Nursing, says: “We are delighted that we have been awarded this Purple Star. The team at Robertson House are passionate about offering the best possible experience for everyone accessing the centre for their COVID vaccination. Hopefully this will make anyone worried about getting their vaccination feel a little less anxious.”

If you are a journalist or media representative requiring further information contact our communications team on (01707) 388148 or via communications@hct.nhs.uk