‘Drawing a line in the sand’ – weekly update from CEO Robert Morton, 11th February

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I was shocked to hear news this week that one of our community first responders was assaulted with a weapon on Monday night whilst attending an emergency call. This is the latest in an unfortunate string of incidents – one of our Norfolk colleagues suffered at the hands of an assault recently too. Thankfully, in both cases our colleagues’ injuries aren’t thought to be serious, but needless to say we are working with the police to try and bring these people to justice. All of us, whether staff or volunteers, work tirelessly to help people and it is simply unacceptable for incidents like these to continue. We must stand together and have a zero-tolerance approach to violence and aggression. I know you will join me in offering our volunteer our very best wishes following this dreadful incident, and we will continue to provide them and their family ongoing support.

We are now just under a week away from implementing the new Cleric CAD system in Norwich EOC. This is another major milestone for us that moves us forward in the right direction; with Bedford EOC already up and running on Cleric, getting Norwich live as well will provide a better system for our staff and help us give a better service too patients. We have only got to this point through a lot of hard work from colleagues across the Trust – thank you all for your support.

The culture and fabric of an organisation is made up of many things – our people, our behaviours, our leadership, how we make decisions and how our stakeholders interact with us. Within my first few days it became apparent to me that we had some outstanding examples of positive culture but other areas where we needed to really look at and address. Over the following months I checked my perceptions as I met colleagues, volunteers, managers and stakeholders and I was pleased that the Board agreed that we should undertake a cultural audit to allow us to understand exactly where we are and what we need to do.

More than 80 of you have taken part in our culture ‘staff groups’ so far, which is the first step in this process and going forward we will be asking every member of the Trust to get involved and fill in a survey. You can read a bit more detail about it here, but essentially we are, and will be, asking people questions to find out what the culture is like here at EEAST, whether it varies within different areas or teams, and why. As we work through the audit I am sure we will be faced with difficult conversations and issues, but the findings of the audit will directly dictate how we move forwards. In particular it will influence our people and culture strategy, how we set up and provide health and wellbeing and how we develop our leaders and staff.

This will all allow us to draw a line in the sand and really move forward; helping us to turn EEAST into a place where our people want to stay, and other people want to be.

I’ve been pleased to be able to drop in and see some of you on station this week, I was at Sudbury yesterday and all being well I’m hoping to make my way to a few more over the next week. One topic that comes up time and time again when we talk is handover delays at hospital – something that I’m well aware of and our Regional Coordination Centre, Silver and Gold Commanders will continue to escalate to the acutes’ executive teams, NHS England and the Trust Development Authority. Essex is proving to be a serious challenge in particular, with one hospital seeing handover delays of 3.5 hours this week. We will continue working hard in the background to try and make change happen for us on the ground. Our hospital ambulance liaison officers (HALOs) are doing an exceptional job in trying to keep things moving under very difficult circumstances, so thank you to you for your ongoing efforts, please keep it up.

And lastly, I’d like to finish by saying a huge congratulations to two of our own who have won prestigious accolades at Ambulance Leadership Forum (ALF) Awards this week. Student Technician Steve Wainwright won the outstanding non-paramedic clinician award and our Head of Clinical Quality Tracy Nicholls won the outstanding senior manager award. These are national awards and I could not be more proud and am so pleased to see our colleagues getting the recognition they thoroughly deserve – I know you’ll all join me in sending congratulations to Steve and Tracy for their fantastic achievement.

Have a good week.


Published 11th February, 2016

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