Update from the CEO: getting back to clinical learning (28th January)

Transparent EEAST crest

My thoughts continue to be with our student paramedic colleague that I emailed you about earlier this month. Sadly, they suffered very serious injuries after being hit by a vehicle whilst on duty, but I’m pleased to report that they are making a really positive recovery and continuing to improve every day. I know that some of you have been in touch personally as well which is so encouraging; these situations are never easy to deal with, but that is increased tenfold when you work in a ‘999 family’ like we do. Please continue to support one another, and remember to ask for help if you need it. We’re doing a lot of work with the mental health charity MIND at the moment so we can make sure that we are all better supported at work – please take advantage of the opportunity if you can.

I have very much enjoyed getting back to some clinical exposure this week as I accompanied Fiona, one of our paramedics, on her RRV shift in Witham. Professional and compassionate, Fiona’s attitude to patient care was exemplary and I’d like to pass on my thanks again for allowing an old-hand on board! I was impressed with everyone I met at Broomfield Hospital’s A&E as well, and it was good to see one of our hospital ambulance liaison officers (HALOs) there; it’s clear that the HALO role really does improve patient and staff experience. I also made a visit to Loughton station, met with the Essex Police Chief Constable and some of our air ambulance charity teams too. Talking to people face-to-face is often how you get the real picture, so I was pleased to be able to speak to so many of you. Thank you for having me.

Last week I touched upon the expectations of the Trust Development Authority (TDA), our clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and NHS England. Whether we like it or not, our performance against national targets is being scrutinised very closely, and it’s going to stay that way for the foreseeable future. But work continues on our newly proposed operating model (which looks at everything from how and what we deploy to patients, how we manage our calls through to how we work with other providers), and we’re now clearing the way to talk to our commissioners about it in detail too. I am hopeful that this can be a positive change in the way we work and the way we care for people.

But that is a long term solution, and we know that doesn’t help to make things easier today. Last Tuesday (19th) the executive team had a discussion about the pressure in the system, and agreed to look at where we can find additional resourcing to support those under the most workload. The quality development team, as an example, have a truly massive portfolio that will only increase as our CQC inspection approaches in April. It’s really important that we support each other and recognise where extra help is needed.  On a positive note, I am glad that our efforts to dispel the myth of a blame culture is starting to have some effect. We continue to encourage reporting of adverse events and in December, we saw a massive increase in the level of reporting. This is very encouraging news in the lead up to the inspection and is reflective of a very professional and accountable approach.

All of that said, we shouldn’t forget the really good work and the progress that’s still being made every day. I’ve had some excellent feedback on our Skoda RRV vehicles in the last few days, great credit for which must goes to our procurement and fleet teams. Making these things happen and getting the right result is no easy task and we all know that without the excellent work of our support services colleagues, we cannot be as effective as we are. Momentum is also building around our ePCR system; so many of you have told us it’s not currently fit for purpose and now is time where we can relook at it, and make sure the next one is better for you. The project team are working incredibly hard on developing a scope for a new system, which would be based on personal issue devices. Given the time it takes to design, procure, implement and train on a new system, we will need to introduce some investment in the existing system to keep it going. It’s early days and we’re still exploring options, but it’s good progress. And good progress is also being made with the GP line in EOC, which is going from strength to strength – please keep using it.

Finally, we had our Board meeting in Hemel Hempstead yesterday (27th). I’ll go into detail about some of the ‘hot topics’ next week, but all of the papers are available on our website should any of you feel inspired to take a look or you can look back on our twitter feed from the meeting!

Have a good week,


Published 28th January, 2016

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

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