Aftermath of the cyber-attack and looking ahead to the summer: it’s your executive update from Chief Executive, Robert Morton

Robert Morton, CEO

I was saddened to hear last week, that our colleague Gary Lacey from Bury St Edmunds had passed away after a hard fought battle with cancer. It’s never easy to hear a member of our EEAST family is no longer with us. He will be very much missed and I know that our thoughts will be with Gary’s wife and family at this sad time. Please do remember that if you need any support, at any time, your local management team, Chaplain or the Health and Wellbeing team will be able to help you.

I’m sure many of you will know about last week’s cyber-attack, which hit more than 100 countries and affected a number of trusts across the country. Friday’s attack was a virus called WannaCry which infected machines running Windows operating systems where a specific security patch had not been applied. I’d like to thank our IT and on call teams who worked tirelessly over the weekend to ensure that we were not affected by this and also to manage the knock on effect it had in the wider NHS. Some hospitals in our area were affected and some patients had to be taken to other hospitals. Both teams worked brilliantly together, quickly and efficiently. The IT team are continuing to work with national cyber security experts to ensure we are safe in the future. Well done and thank you to you all.

Although the attack was not specifically aimed at the NHS, it has shown that we an organisation need to be prepared. So, quite aptly, this week is business continuity awareness week, focussing on cyber-security. Throughout the week, articles, animation and posters have been posted on Need to Know each day. Thank you to Ian Crowson whom will once again, set a challenge for the Trust to test our plans.

 As the May bank holiday and half term week approach, we are dealing with a big increase in student paramedic abstractions. Managing this abstraction always is a challenge and does mean we will need to secure some extra support from private ambulance services (PAS). Our student paramedics are part of the Trust’s future and we need to ensure they can have the time to continue their education. Both the Trust, and importantly, our student paramedics need your support, as we enter the exams session. 

Mental health has been a key focus in the media and the mind of the public over the last few months. It’s a sensitive topic and often considered a taboo subject for people to talk about it. It’s a stigma we are determined to break through. In a step forward, we now have mental health clinicians in the emergency clinical advice and triage centre (ECAT). These clinicians can help and triage calls to mental health patients. In small steps, we will break down mental health discrimination.

I’m pleased to say we have seen some very positive results for the Stroke 60 target. For those of you unsure, each month we are measured on our transport of stroke patients to a hyper acute stroke unit (HASU) for stroke thrombolysis. As a Trust we continue to improve on the percentage of patients we are able to get to a HASU within 60 minutes, so their specialist treatment can start sooner. As ‘time is brain’, this is vitally important to give the patient the best chance of a good outcome.  

I would also like to congratulate the 95% of EOC staff, who completed their PU updates. Well done, it’s a great achievement, despite the need to ensure sufficient staff on duty to deliver services to patients.

As healthcare professionals we have a duty to be open and honest with patients, including when something goes wrong with their treatment. That means saying sorry then and there – not as an acceptance of blame or admission of guilt, but because saying sorry is the right thing to do. In official terms this is called Duty of Candour. But it’s also about trying to offer a remedy or support to put it right, and then explaining what’s happened and what you’re going to do next. It’s how we can learn from our mistakes, after call we all make them. I know reporting them is hard, but it’s important you do, so we can make improvements where we need to – it helps us to protect patients, and it helps us protect you.

I would like to congratulate a group of staff and budding footballers, who took on the Arsenal Charity team this month, raising money for the charity, War Child. United for the Innocents, a team made up of our staff and players from Royston Town FC, went head to head against the likes of Ralf Little and Tommy Walsh all in the name of charity, namely War Child and the Arsenal Foundation. I believe Arsenal emerged victorious in a 4-2 win, well done to you all for playing and making a huge difference for charity. In total more than £2,000 has been raised with 70% going to War Child, the specialist charity for children affected by conflict, and the rest to the Arsenal Foundation charity. Hope to see a rematch soon!

And finally, as you may have seen recently, many of our staff have been involved in a number of different charity events, from marathons, to head shaves to even pulling ambulances! It is great to see you all supporting your colleagues whilst they take part in their challenges. I would particularly like to draw your attention to the JustGiving page that has been set up by staff from Ely station for their colleague Lance Cox, who you can find out more about in this article.

Have a good week


Published 18th May, 2017

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