Blogspot: What vaccinating people at the Lister Health Centre has taught me about the ‘milk of human kindness’

Covid-19 / Thu 18th Feb 2021 at 11:35am

By Prof Gino Martini, Chief Scientist at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society,

Trustee at Harlow Health Centres Trust (https://hhct.org.uk/)

Volunteer at Lister Health Centre

WHAT vaccinating people at the Lister Health Centre at Harlow has taught me about the ‘milk of human kindness’ or the recuperating powers of Dorrington’s Donuts (I will explain)

As I write this blog the UK have just hit the government’s target of 15 million people.

Not since the Second World War have we seen the mobilisation of so many people united to deliver life-saving vaccines to patients. What is remarkable is that many of these people are volunteers working seamlessly with Doctors, Pharmacists, Nurses and Healthcare workers – a truly multi-disciplinary team.

What struck me – were the many examples of human kindness that I observed first-hand from unpaid carers who were helping patients getting to the centre from their homes to helpers picking up prescriptions for those patients who were shielding.

During home visits I saw for myself how some neighbours selflessly looked after those patients (who were not family members) but who were too frail to look after themselves. These neighbours would do the shopping, perform odd-jobs, and even come out to meet me and let me into the house to vaccinate the patient.

At a time when many of us cannot see our dearest and nearest I view these carers/helpers not just heroes but also as saints and it reinforces my belief that the pandemic will not undo our humanity despite its best efforts and that the milk of human kindness will prevail!

I was privileged to be part of this campaign at the Lister Health Centre supporting the CCG/Stellar Healthcare team led by Dr Jey and I was struck at the enormity of the operation that was unfolding around me and the sheer intensity of vaccinating 500 to 1400 people a day!

Everyone played a pivotal and indispensable role – from the delivery teams bringing product on site, to the cleaners cleaning down the site, to the security staff ensuring the entrances were not blocked, to the admin teams booking patients in, to the guides directing patients to the rooms, to the compounders making up the vaccines and to the vaccinators/consenter themselves.  Like a link in a chain – if a link breaks then the chain will fail!  

In the case of the Lister – nothing failed not even when each link was buckling under pressure, the chain held sound – Bravo team!  During these times, it was amazing to observe the recuperating effects of Dorrington’s donuts supplied by yours truly – just to give that extra boost of sugar when we needed it!

For me this is why I became a pharmacist and that was to help patients.

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