Kilmore District Health (KDH) in rural Victoria was on track to administer 10,000 COVID-19 vaccinations by the end of August 2021. KDH took the lead to provide vaccinations to the community in Mitchell Shire and surrounds, through the state vaccination program.
Working closely with GV Health’s Public Health Unit, the vaccine hub lead, KDH were set a timeframe of two and a half weeks to set up the new unit and commence delivering COVID-19 vaccinations to the Priority 1A cohort, including frontline healthcare staff at KDH.
The success of KDH in being able to rapidly put together a vaccination clinic was a result of the project management approach and the PDSA (plan, do, study, act) cycle that continues to play a part in the day-to-day management of the clinic.
Having clear direction and executive support for the project allowed for resources to be directed and project team members to be aligned in their thinking, to remove barriers and problem solve. This project was a clear and pressing priority for our health service and our catchment community, and it delivered. The leadership, commitment and support of all our clinical, admin and support staff has been impressive and shows how a structured project plan and project planning methodology works, especially during times of crisis.
For small rural health services, anything related to the COVID-19 pandemic does not occur without challenges. The COVID-19 vaccine rollout, especially for health services such as KDH, has resulted in key learnings. These include the need for rapid decision making and implementation; responsiveness to frequent changes and adjustments; adequate, clear, concise and frequent community engagement and communication; and ensuring a process of continuous improvement to maximise efficiency, Additionally, the regional approach to the vaccine rollout has resulted in improved partnerships and collaboration with other health services in the Hume region. This will assist in future service planning and delivery of key health priority areas for the region.
The KDH team is proud to have contributed to the state vaccination program. More importantly, delivering COVID-19 vaccinations to the local community is the purpose and vision of many small rural health services, and the way out of the global pandemic – which is the main priority.