‘Whatever we do, we’ve got to get it right’: update from CEO Robert Morton

Robert Morton CEO visits 140915

On my very first day here at EEAST (only 19 working days ago would you believe!) I shared with you my views on the operational performance targets we’re tasked to meet. It’s my absolute belief that we should be measured on clinical outcomes for our patients, and on my visits this week there’s been a lot of talk about these national targets – the eight minute one in particular.

But regardless of whether we think the current targets are entirely fit for purpose or not, the reality is we have to meet them because it’s what our commissioners are paying us to provide. It’s no secret that over the last few months that’s been a challenge:


Call category                      April       May       June      July        August

Red 1(target 75%)           79.88%  80.69%  75.43%  74.66% 73.47%

Red 2 (target 75%)          71.54%  69.63%  66.05%  62.53% 61.71%

Red 19 (target 90%)        95.54%  94.84%  92.56%  90.75% 90.55%


As a Trust, all of us regardless of our role, need to understand and appreciate the expectations and pressure from our commissioners, MPs, the media and the public about our response times.

So now is the time to pull together; I want us to be able to focus on clinical innovations, people development, and improvement initiatives that can really make a difference to you and to our patients. But the truth of the matter is if we don’t work together to improve our performance in the short term it will end up being a huge distraction (as it has done in the past). We’ll be back to a place where we have to put everything else on hold. That’s not something I, or I hope you, want to do. This isn’t about ‘turning the screw’ as I truly know how hard our people are working, but it’s important for me to be honest with you all and say that if we don’t improve our performance, we simply won’t be able to put in place that vision for clinically focused patient care. Right now, we need to get to patients quicker, show everyone that we can do it, and then use that as a springboard to say ‘so now let us change how we do things’.

Let me be clear though, this is a balance. It’s not about hitting the targets and missing the point. I won’t implement a long-term model focused around more cars or more private ambulance service (PAS) vehicles because I simply don’t think they’re sustainable improvements that are good for us or for patients. Whatever we do, we’ve got to get it right.

You will hopefully have had a chance to look at the email I sent on Friday about the reimbursements for student paramedics; on the back of that a lot of you have also contacted me about the ECA to EMT courses. There’s been a perceived lack of communication around these and I've asked Director of Nursing and Clinical Quality Sandy Brown and Unison Chair Steve Imrie to work together, and with you, to find a solution that works for everyone. We do appreciate that everyone wants development and a ‘fair go’ at progression. We’ll be looking into career pathways and clinical development in more detail at a workshop I’ve arranged on 10th November, so I hope we can get things moving in the right direction again.

And that’s the same for our support services colleagues as well; we have some excellent people development opportunities here at EEAST and I’d really encourage you all to take a look at East24 for more information. We obviously have finite resources financially but we also have people who can provide you with great guidance and support, so do use them. Talent development is so important and my first few weeks here have shown me that we have some exceptionally talented people here.

Have a great week,


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