A thank you to our volunteers: update from CEO Robert Morton, 9th June

Robert Morton, CEO

We’ve been celebrating all things ‘volunteer’ over the past few days as part of the national Volunteers’ Week 2016.

As well as highlighting the fantastic work of our community first responders (CFRs), the spotlight has also been shone on our critical care volunteers, volunteer car drivers and our Trust User Group members. Last year alone, our CFRs attended more than 24,500 incidents, which is a truly staggering number considering that they choose to do so in their own time. Our volunteers across the board provide huge amounts of support to us and our patients, and it’s right that this week we take the time to say thank you for that.

Some of you may have seen coverage over the last few weeks about NHS spending nationally on private ambulance services (PAS). The increase in their use is somewhat unsurprising given the rise in 999 calls – ambulance services in England took 861,000 emergency calls in March, which equates to around 27,800 a day. That’s a 24% rise on March the previous year. We are of course one of the many ambulance trusts that does use private providers. Our long-term plans aim to make us more sustainable, by changing both how we operate, and how we recruit, train and retain our own staff. That should mean that eventually we won’t need to rely on PAS in the way we do currently, and instead will have enough of our own staff to provide our services – a much more preferable option. But we all see that, right now, there is a gap that we need to fill; PAS crews allow us to take some of that pressure off of our colleagues and protect things like our student paramedic programme, by backfilling for when our students need to go on their university placements. With that, we will be continuing to use PAS crews to support us for the foreseeable future.

If you haven’t already done so, I’d ask that you please do take the time to complete and return your culture and wellbeing survey tonight, as the response deadline is close of play tomorrow. With questions covering everything from your work health to how you’re spoken to on a daily basis, it really is your chance to tell us how you feel working here at EEAST. Are we living our values? Do you feel like you’re supported? Are there issues you want to anonymously share? The Board and I will be using the results, which we will share with you, to look at ways we can develop and improve things for the benefit of us all, so please do complete it. Your opinion matters.

I’ve stopped by Harwich, Frinton and Weeley ambulance stations whilst on my travels in Essex of late, and it was good to bump into a few of you and chat about how things are going. I always appreciate you taking the time to stop and talk, and I’ll continue to swing by stations as I’m on my travels. Hope to see more of you soon.

Have a good week.


Published 9th June, 2016

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