Chief Executive Robert Morton: first hello

Robert Morton OPT1

Today I have started my role as Chief Executive here at the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST). The trust now placed in me, and the opportunity to join you on the journey to improve services to patients, are both challenging and exciting. 

Over the coming weeks and months I will take every opportunity to meet as many of you as possible.  As you would expect, I will also be spending time meeting our stakeholders. I hope that whenever and wherever we meet, you will share your views and aspirations for our services and how practically we can continue to make EEAST a better place to work and volunteer. 

As a proud career ‘ambo’ of more than two decades, my personal values continue to be shaped by an absolute desire to deliver safe and clinically effective care to our patients. As a leader, I strongly believe it is important to remain connected to our primary mission, to serve our patients and to those who do it day in, day out. I have continued to serve my community as a volunteer responder since leaving full-time clinical practice, and once I have had an opportunity to integrate properly into the organisation, I’m hoping to spend some time each month working shifts on the frontline with you.

The current climate across the NHS is clearly of concern, and we will undoubtedly need to make sure we are as operationally efficient as possible. In doing so, we must maintain a relentless focus on the quality of our services to our patients and the support and wellbeing of all of our colleagues. 

Our ‘frontline’ incorporates a broad spectrum of people - ranging from those in EOC who act as the first point of contact to those who respond to and meet our patients’ needs. As a service devoted to patients, it is imperative that anyone not on the ‘frontline’ is clear that our principle role is to support those that are. Needless to say, it is equally important for those on the ‘frontline’ to recognise and respect that support. Essentially, we are one, we are EEAST. 

Despite the challenges of the past, the future for EEAST is bright. The future direction of health delivery across the NHS can provide us with exciting opportunities to increase the strength of our services to patients while at the same time, creating opportunities for colleagues to grow and diversify. 

In the past, our services have traditionally been defined by transport, and we should continue to respect and value our traditional role which will continue to be the mainstay of our service. Although the current performance measurement system dates from the 1970s and has changed little to reflect how far the ambulance service has come clinically, the reality for us is that our commissioners fund us and our patients expect us to deliver services against time based targets. 

However, the future should also include becoming a collaboration of health services, all working together to deliver mobile, integrated healthcare for our patients, i.e. the right care, in the best place, first time. To do that, part of our future will be reflecting on how we are measured and demonstrating to both our commissioners and patients that what we want to do will deliver better outcomes. The transition to any such regime must be gradual and above all, safe for patients. Our colleagues in Wales have recently begun this journey and we look forward to seeing how their voyage progresses. Our new Quality Strategy is an important cornerstone for us here at EEAST and I encourage all of you to attend some of the forthcoming clinical quality roadshows where possible. 

Over the last three months we have, for a variety of reasons, seen a dip in performance. So in the immediate term, we need to work together so that we can recover our performance and achieve improvements. I am acutely aware of the pressures this can put all of us under. In tandem with striving to achieve our current performance targets, it is equally important that we work together to find ways to make EEAST a better place to work, for all of us. 

In the short term, my key priorities will be to stabilise and improve our operational performance, work with our trade union partners to foster a culture where everyone feels respected and valued for the contribution they make, regardless of their role, and work with the wider health economy to understand how we can integrate and improve our services for patients. 

In the fullness of time, it is my earnest wish as your new Chief Executive that we will have the opportunity to look back on what we have achieved for both our patients and our staff while remembering, together we are one, we are EEAST. 

Best wishes, Robert

Chief Executive

Published 24th August, 2015

Leave a Comment
Name (required)
Email Address (required, never displayed)
Enter a message

(all comments are moderated - your submission will be posted on approval.)