A PLEA has been issued for people to come forward to help the NHS in Herefordshire which is facing an "especially difficult time" this winter.

GP surgeries in the county have asked GP federation Taurus Healthcare for help with ongoing vaccination programmes as they try to cope with pressures.

Taurus said the local leaders asked for help ahead of what was expected to be a difficult winter where general practice was "under more pressure than ever before".

In order to enable GPs to deliver their day-to-day services to patients, practices have asked Taurus to provide the jab programme on their behalf.

Taurus said the vaccination programme is a vital part of the county’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

"By protecting themselves against Covid-19 and influenza, patients are also helping to protect local health and care services from becoming overwhelmed this winter," a spokesperson for Taurus said.

Taurus is asking for the support of additional registered nurses and experienced healthcare assistants to come forward to give jabs to housebound patients, as well as working in vaccination centres.

Dr Mike Hearne, managing director at Taurus Healthcare, said: “As the GP Federation for Herefordshire, we are pleased to be working alongside all Herefordshire’s GP practices to deliver Covid and flu vaccinations.

"I would urge any registered nurses or experienced HCAs to get in touch if they are able to help.

"Even if they can only offer a few hours each week, these are very flexible roles and we would love to hear from them.

"The NHS really does need them this winter."

Dr Jenny Barnes, a retired Bromyard GP, now works as a vaccinator and clinical lead for Taurus.

She said: “I started vaccinating in January 2021 and added clinical lead in June.

"It has brought me unexpected joy and fulfilment. I work mostly with people I’ve never met before and have made many new friends.

"There is a great sense of camaraderie and purpose, and the collective determination of all team members and volunteers to accommodate the public and promote and deliver the Covid vaccination programme is extraordinary.

“I am at the winding down stage of my career.

"I have however welcomed this opportunity to remain involved in a distinct clinical field that offers a great deal of flexibility and job satisfaction.

"It has been a most rewarding experience and I am grateful that I am able to continue to contribute to the collective effort.”

Suitably qualified and experienced nurses and HCAs who are interested in these opportunities are asked to send their CV to covacstaff@taurushealthcare.co.uk.

All roles will be offered as flexible contacts until the end of March 2022, with ongoing opportunities for additional longer-term flexible, practice-based work.

The Herefordshire and Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Group said it appreciated some people had found it "frustrating and difficult" to book a slot for their booster.

But it said the "vaccine is available across the country to ensure that all those who are eligible for a booster vaccine from six months after their second dose will receive one".