An update from the CEO Robert Morton: Time to reflect

Robert Morton ambulance OPT

When we are so busy and under constant pressure with ever increasing demand for our services, it is often easy to forget the progress we have made. And we have made some real and significant progress over the last five months and I wanted to just take some time to reflect.

I was in Loughton recently talking with staff about career development and clinical progression, a topic that has been raised to me often, and I am delighted that we have agreed a new clinical career pathway for staff at Board last week. Whilst this needs support from our Commissioners and Health Education England, it is absolutely vital we can get this in place so we can develop our own staff and their clinical skills, so this is a very welcome step in the right direction. Once we finalise this career pathway with our Commissioners and HEE, all future recruitment and internal progression opportunities will be aligned to this approach. We hope to have further news on this in the coming months.

We have also agreed to create a new senior call handler role with specific responsibilities and accountabilities, improving the effectiveness and safety of our services to patients and giving our EOC staff a structured career and development pathway.  As part of this work we are also reviewing the call handling team leader role and in 2016/17 we will be carrying out a review of the dispatch and dispatch team leader roles. This is a testament to really good partnership working with UNISON to make these positive changes both the organisation and our staff – thank you to everyone involved in making this possible.

For the last few years we have not had a permanent or stable Executive Team. I am delighted that we are making much progress with the appointment of Lindsey Stafford-Scott as Director of People and Culture and Kevin Smith as Director of Finance and Commissioning.  This week we also held the interviews for the Medical and Deputy Medical Director and advertised for the two remaining permanent executive positions – Director of Strategy and Sustainability and Director of Service Delivery.

Having a permanent and stable Executive Team will help us really move the organisation forwards, as we aim to change how we provide services to patients; treating more patients over the phone or closer to their home.

We also successfully implemented the new Cleric CAD system in Bedford which is working well and are now only two weeks away from rolling this out to our Norwich EOC. Again, this shows what we can achieve when we all work together; a real team effort.  We have already built on this success by implementing the G2 Deployment Trial which together with our EOC GP, is enabling us to reduce the number of physical responses or reduce the number of patients we transport to ED.

I was extremely pleased to hear last week at the Board how we have seen an increase in the number of Datix reports from staff. High-performing organisations have high levels of incident reporting but low levels of actual harm to patients, so this is a demonstration that we are changing our culture positively. 

And when we look at our culture we have moved forwards in this area too.  We have launched our vision and values and are getting the staff focus group back together in March to look at how we can embed the values and behaviours. We have also begun work on our cultural audit and this week saw the start of a number of focus groups to tease out the areas we need to include in the survey we will send to staff and volunteers.

So we really are moving in the right direction and I truly believe that by continuing to work together we can make real and positive change.

Have a good week,


Published 3rd February, 2016

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