'Vaccs Express' helps local people get to their jab appointment

Older people and those with mobility issues can now make their way to their vaccination appointment in style with the help of a new buggy shuttle service at Bournemouth’s large vaccination centre.

Dorset HealthCare, which opened the vaccination service in the Purbeck Hall of the Bournemouth International Centre on 18 January, was concerned that some visitors to the centre were finding the climb to the entrance a bit challenging.

So they contacted their friends at BCP Council who happily loaned the community and mental health trust six golf buggies to shuttle people from the bottom of the car park to the Purbeck Hall entrance where they check in for their jab.

The main front entrance to the BIC is closed and access to the vaccination centre is via a short service road with a bit of an incline to tackle on foot.

Cllr Nicola Greene, Portfolio Holder for COVID Resilience, Public Health and Education, said:

“As our Queen’s Park golf course isn’t currently open these buggies were not in use. So we’re delighted to see them pressed into service to support some of our less mobile residents when they come to get their jab. It’s wonderful to see them enjoy their short trip up the hill!

“Responding to all aspects of this pandemic is a team effort and the council continues to work closely with NHS colleagues to provide the help our communities need.”

Dorset HealthCare’s Service Director Kate Harvey said:

“Since the build began and now that the centre is open our team has been proactive and creative to solve the problems we find along the way.

“This is a perfect example of working well with our partners to improve the experience for our patients. The buggy shuttle is going down a treat with some of our elderly visitors who would otherwise have found the climb quite difficult.”

A full risk assessment has been done to ensure the shuttle service is safe, with buggies cleaned after every trip and drivers wearing additional PPE. Trained volunteer marshals from Community Action Network are operating the buggies as needed.

Council colleagues have advised on the operation and care of the vehicles and BIC staff have provided a parking area and charging points for the electric buggies.

You can see a short clip of the new buggy in action charting here.