The COVID-19 pandemic caused a national health crisis which at its peak, led to over 30,000 hospitalisations in a single day. From 2020 to 2022, the NHS faced a significant risk of patient deaths and overwhelmed hospitals due to the volume of patients being admitted. To manage this, the NHS expedited a national vaccination programme. Over the two-year period, the NHS successfully vaccinated and provided boosters to over 90% of the UK population.
To enable this, the NHS set up 1,500 vaccination centres situated in all parts of the UK. Sites were identified due to several key criteria including accessibility, infection control parameters, security, and ability to move people efficiently. Common sites included GP practices, pharmacies, and community centres but special, purpose-built facilities were set up in city centres to cope with the thousands of individuals requiring a vaccination. These temporary sites included bus stations, football stadiums, and supermarket car parks.
To ensure the successful delivery of the vaccination programme, each site depended on reliable connectivity. This was necessary to update vaccination records on-site, effectively manage vaccine stocks, and allow staff to effectively carry out their roles. However, with many locations lacking a fixed-line solution due to the temporary nature of the centres, the NHS identified a need for a resilient, mobile solution to provide stand-alone data connectivity that could sit outside any fixed-line infrastructure.
As part of the NHS booster programme, Cellhire collaborated with O2, a UK network operator, to ensure reliable mobile connectivity for vaccination centres across the United Kingdom. Through its comprehensive solution, Cellhire provided a seamless and efficient communication system that enabled healthcare professionals and their devices to stay connected during the vaccination process. This partnership was crucial in enabling the successful rollout of the vaccination program.
One of the notable advantages of Cellhire’s solution was the establishment of a resilient multi-network IoT 4G/5G connectivity, which included O2, Vodafone, and a UK-roaming solution on their MVNO on Orange France. By using a diverse network approach, Cellhire ensured that the on-site connectivity was highly resilient, minimising connectivity disruption to the sites. Altogether, connectivity for the NHS vaccination centres was delivered by almost 4,800 SIM cards provided by Cellhire. Cellhire took additional measures to improve reliability and guarantee continuous connectivity, even in the presence of service disruptions. They supplied more than 1,400 Peplink Pepwave routers that come with dual SIM provision, enabling automatic failover in case of network outage. Additionally, Cellhire also provided 2,000 personal MiFi devices installed with multi-network SIM cards to offer internet access to staff working on the site.
Moreover, Cellhire demonstrated exceptional flexibility in its offerings, responding to the dynamic requirements of the NHS booster programme. The company provided a range of options, including purchase, rental, short-term, and long-term solutions. Notably, Cellhire was committed to cost-effectiveness, offering commercial solutions aligned with the NHS's budget constraints. Some components of the solution were even provided at cost or free of charge, emphasising our dedication to supporting the NHS during this critical initiative.
One of the notable advantages of Cellhire's solution was the establishment of resilient multi-network IoT 4G/5G connectivity, which included O2, Vodafone, EE, and a UK-roaming solution.
By using a diverse network approach, Cellhire ensured that the on-site connectivity was highly resilient, minimising connectivity disruption to the sites.
Cellhire designed specific connectivity solutions to cater to the diverse needs of different sites including mass vaccination/booster sites, local NHS sites, non-NHS sites, and pharmacies. These solutions were tailored to meet the unique connectivity demands of each category. In addition, Cellhire offered flexible contract options to optimise data usage, ensuring cost-effectiveness throughout the contract duration.
One of the standout features of Cellhire's solution was its adaptability. Recognising that requirements changed daily, the NHS needed a partner capable of rapid adjustment. Cellhire's agility in responding to evolving needs showcased their commitment to ensuring the success of the NHS booster programme. The company further contributed to efficient management through the provision of a cloud-based portal with powerful granular reporting and administrative capabilities. The integration of Peplink Pepwave routers with the inControl2 management dashboard allowed for effective service control and monitoring.
Recognising that requirements changed daily, the NHS needed a partner capable of rapid adjustment.
Cellhire's agility in responding to evolving needs showcased their commitment to ensuring the success of the NHS booster programme.
Cellhire's solution proved highly successful, providing managed IoT data to approximately 1,500 vaccination booster sites. The readiness of their solutions "straight out of the box" allowed NHS teams to focus on the crucial task of vaccination without delays or complications. With direct partnerships with O2 and Vodafone coupled with access to a UK-roaming solution via their MVNO on Orange France, Cellhire positioned itself as an ideal connectivity partner for the NHS, ensuring the quality of service, resilience, and overall success of the vaccination programme.