Sussex Community Search Team is a voluntary organisation who have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to support the NHS in the covid vaccination process.
The team is made up for around 130 volunteers who are trained primarily to help the police with thorough searches for high risk missing people. However, they are also available to help out in other situations, such as providing help to the Hospital Documentation Teams in the event of a mass casualty incident.
Every team member is already vetted by Sussex Police, and has their own police issued photo ID card and distinctive high visibility tabard.
They are currently helping the NHS with stewarding large numbers of patients attending the centres – up to 12 hours per day, seven days a week – and doing their best to ensure that everything runs safely and smoothly.
Derek Pratt MBE, chair of the Sussex Community Search Team, said, “We have been an active player with the Sussex Resilience Forum for many years. This is the first time we have been requested to assist in a county-wide callout, and I am very proud of those members who have kindly agreed to step up and do something really useful when they can.
“Some colleagues and I have been volunteering at Crawley Hospital, where we have been helping in four-hour shifts to greet patients and maybe have a relaxing little chat, guide them through the check-in process, hand out useful information, ensure that people maintain proper social distancing, and then direct them to the staff who administer the vaccinations.
“My experience has been that all the patients, staff and volunteers have been very friendly and co-operative, making it a well worthwhile exercise.”