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Nursing and maternity teams working across Bradford District and Craven have been shortlisted in three categories at the Nursing Times 2022 awards. The shortlisting recognises innovative work on COVID-19 vaccinations, and exemplary leadership.

Two of the three awards focus on the outstanding efforts of the teams working on the COVID-19 vaccination programme where they have increased vaccine confidence and uptake across communities.

The Bradford COVID-19 vaccination team delivered vaccinations to people across the district. When they found that there was a low uptake in some communities, they set out to work with local people on how to encourage take up of the life-saving vaccination.

By working in partnership with communities, listening and acting upon feedback, the vaccination team were able to understand the reasons behind why people did not wish to have the vaccine. As a result, they set up pop-up hubs, based within local communities, which improved access. They also focused on education and support for multi-cultural communities by improving the information given about the COVID-19 vaccine and running localised events with expert panellists such as nurses, midwives, doctors, pharmacists and trusted community leaders.

The Bradford COVID-19 vaccination team also used videos, podcasts and community media to help increase confidence around the vaccine, particularly with groups who face the largest health inequalities.

Working with professionals across health, care and the voluntary and community sector, the team also helped support colleagues in understanding the needs of our diverse communities.

At the same time, a dedicated team of midwives have been working on increasing vaccine uptake amongst pregnant women and their families.

Pregnant women, especially in the third trimester of pregnancy, are at increased risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19, which could lead to complications for women and their babies. Throughout the pandemic, one in five of the most critically ill COVID-19 patients were unvaccinated pregnant women, and over half of women admitted to hospital were from a Black, Asian or ethnic minority background.

Work focused on listening, understanding, and acknowledging concerns raised by women, families, carers, and communities around the COVID-19 vaccine in pregnancy. Close collaboration with local maternity units and trusted community partners and faith leaders was vital in helping reach women and families, and in developing conversations with people from a variety of backgrounds.

By listening to and understanding concerns, the local maternity vaccination team came up with creative ways of having personalised conversations with women and their families. This included first of its kind question and answer sessions at restaurants and bespoke pop-up events at Broadway Shopping Centre, maternity units, and community centres. The teams also organised virtual group talks, webinars, podcasts, multi-language videos, and family and household COVID-19 vaccine clinics.

Using feedback from women, families and carers, the team, with their midwifery clinical background were able to improve COVID-19 vaccination rates amongst pregnant women, ultimately protecting mum and baby from the potentially serious complications of the virus.

Together the work of the Bradford COVID-19 vaccination team and the work to increase confidence of vaccinations in pregnancy, has successfully delivered over 200,000 vaccinations alone in the last eighteen months. They have increased vaccine uptake in children between the ages of 5-11, and for pregnant women, have increased first doses of the vaccine to nearly 70% of those who are eligible.

Champion of the COVID-19 vaccination work led by maternity and nursing teams throughout the pandemic and nominated by colleagues as Nurse Leader of the Year, is Rukeya Miah. Rukeya is Deputy Associate Director of Nursing and Senior Midwife and Professional Midwifery Advocate, Bradford District and Craven Health and Care Partnership, COVID-19 Vaccination Programme.

Speaking about leadership, colleagues highlighted Rukeya’s drive for inclusivity and compassion, as well as her inspirational leadership qualities which make nursing and midwifery staff feel supported and valued.

Rukeya has demonstrated outstanding leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Most notably her drive to reduce inequalities and increase confidence in the COVID-19 vaccination, particularly amongst the most vulnerable communities. Her work on improving vaccine confidence amongst pregnant women has been nationally recognised as a model of innovative practice, one which has significantly improved clinical outcomes for women and their babies.

Colleagues say that Rukeya’s role modelling leadership ensures that they provide high quality, compassionate practice, and that her open-minded approach encourages different perspectives.

Speaking about the shortlists for the Nursing Times 2022 awards, Karen Dawber, Chief Nurse, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Senior Responsible Officer for the Covid Vaccination Programme said: “I am extremely proud of all the staff and communities who have been involved in planning and rolling out the COVID-19 vaccination programme. They have led some fantastic work in involving people from across our diverse communities to improve vaccine confidence, uptake and make sure nobody is left behind. This really shows how much we can do when we work together, acting as one for our communities. Meaningful collaboration, engagement and inclusivity are essential ingredients to transform and deliver services that are tailored to our populations.

“I would also like to give a huge thanks to Rukeya Miah. She is a truly inspirational colleague and leader who is absolutely committed to continuously improving the quality of care for women and their families.”

The shortlisted categories are:

  • Nurse leader of the year – Rukeya Miah BEM
  • Nursing in the community – COVID-19 vaccination team
  • Patient safety improvement – COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy

The winners shortlisted in each category will be announced during the Nursing Times Awards 2022 ceremony on Wednesday 26 October 2022.