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Digital systems 'pivotal' in delivering Wales' leading vaccination programme

A leading figure of Wales’ COVID-19 vaccination programme has described how access to the digital services delivered by DHCW has been key to its successful roll out.

The digital vaccination service supporting the programme, the Welsh Immunisation System (WIS), is used nationwide for the management, distribution and reporting of the COVID-19 vaccinations.

It is supported by information from the COVID-19 data hub, which is part of the National Data Warehouse managed by Digital Health and Care Wales’ Information Services Directorate.

Jeremy Griffith, Chief Operating Officer of NHS Wales’ Test Trace Protect (TTP) COVID-19 Vaccination Programme and Director of NHS Wales Delivery Unit, said that use of the COVID-19 data hub and WIS has helped his team make more informed, nationwide decisions throughout the pandemic. The system uses information on patient demographics, occupation groups and agreed priority levels for receiving the vaccination, to allow healthcare professionals to schedule appointments for patients. It can create appointment slots and record details about each vaccination for every COVID-19 vaccine administered in Wales.

Griffith acts as the NHS Wales interface with Welsh Government for TTP and the vaccination programme. His team uses information from the hub, which displays a mixture of data visualisations, tables and sources, from the COVID-19 data store to support the management of the spread of COVID-19.

The hub also provides vaccination data from all health boards , to provide a clear picture of who has been vaccinated, where and when, plus how many people are currently booked in to be vaccinated. The data can be analysed from a surface level, all the way down to specific vaccination sites and individual patients.

“We required some really good, robust, up-to-the-minute data which was driven by vaccines being recorded," he said. "I saw the dashboard element of that then, which allowed me and my team to turn dashboard information into management information. For me to be able to brief ministers, I needed that management information all the time at my fingertips to support Welsh Government in making key decisions for society, so it’s been fundamental.”

“It was only once Wales started getting some notoriety for the way we were delivering the programme in terms of where we were on first and second doses, other countries from all over the world got interested - particularly our UK colleagues in Scotland, as well as others like Australia and Germany," Griffith said. "They were interested in how we know where our vaccine is, how we do a stock take and all the quality governance around vaccine control we had at our fingertips.” 

DHCW staff supporting the systems and their users were also praised and described as “solution focused” and doing their job in a “professional and kind” manner while keeping everyone fully updated.

“The Welsh Immunisation System (WIS) is a number of things brought together in one package that we all use across Wales," he added, "and it’s been pivotal in our delivery [of the vaccination programme]. It allows us to numerate and evidence a narrative and therefore give the public more confidence.”

Work continues with WIS as we move into the COVID-19 booster and flu vaccination programmes for the autumn winter seasons.