Local NHS staff made sure Harley felt safe (Credit: BHRUT)
Ila’s son Harley is clinically vulnerable and she wanted to keep him safe by getting him vaccinated as soon as possible.
She knew it might be difficult to find a place where he could get jabbed comfortably so she reached out to the hospitals lead nurse for their vaccination programme, Taz Milbank.
“From that moment, everything was brilliant and she couldn’t have done enough,” said Ila.
“She sorted it so that he could come in after opening hours to have his jab with less people around, something which was really important to Harley.
“She met us and was chatting away to him, as Harley loves meeting new people. It also helped that the nurse who gave him the injection was called Shannon. There is a Shannon who he watches on YouTube so he was laughing about that and it built a rapport between them.
“Before Harley knew it the jab was done, he didn’t even flinch, and Taz and Shannon kept him chatting until his observation was up. It was the best thing ever for both of us, they made him feel like a star.”
Ila said children with additional needs like Harley are “forgotten” and she hopes by sharing his story more hubs will consider their needs.
“Harley can’t wear a mask as he doesn’t really understand and won’t keep it on,” she explained.
“We’ve not really been socialising, my husband has been working from home, and we both had our jabs to keep him safe. So it was frustrating that we struggled at first to find somewhere suitable for him to have his.”
Staff at King George Hospital were inspired by Harley and they are working to be more welcoming for people with additional needs.
They have also decorated a vaccination booth especially for children.
Taz said: “Speaking to Ila was a lightbulb moment for me as we don’t know when we have someone coming to the hub who might have additional needs.
“Our reception team now ask this as part of the booking in process so we can ensure anyone who does need it can be fast-tracked.
“I also asked Ila to share what we can do with her networks, and since having Harley in we have started to get calls from other families needing more support.
“It’s not uncommon for us to give vaccines out of hours for those who really need it.”
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