An update from Robert Morton, Chief Executive (16th February)

Robert Morton, CEO

I’d like to start this week by saying I’m delighted that the late Keith Marshall, one of our dedicated volunteers, has received a national award posthumously for his work with the service. He won the Outstanding Service accolade for volunteering at the Ambulance Leadership Forum (ALF) awards last week. Keith was an incredibly valued member of our ambulance family and I’m glad the thousands of hours he volunteered has been recognised.

I’m also thrilled to hear two of our major projects have been shortlisted for recognition schemes. Our clinical manual app, launched last year, has been shortlisted in the prestigious Health Service Journal (HSJ) awards in the ‘use of technology to drive value in clinical services’ category. Its proof of what can be achieved by putting our heads together and feedback about the app shows that people are clearly embracing it. It’s a fantastic achievement and serves as an important companion to our developing e-learning platform.

Mental Health Street Triage (MHST) is an initiative that ensures patients receive fast and appropriate care during mental health crises, and the Bedfordshire model has also been shortlisted in the HSJ Value in Healthcare awards. The project is very clearly successful and we are also currently beginning to recruit mental health nurses to the emergency clinical advice and triage centre (ECAT). It’s great to see the strides we are making in strengthening our mental health care.

This week, Chair Sarah Boulton and I met with NHS Improvement (NHSI)  to discuss the increasing range of projects we can collaborate on throughout the Midlands and East, the NHS jurisdiction area we come under. This could involve collaboration across support services and perhaps adopting best practices from other services, and of course sharing our experiences and work so that others can learn more from our teams who have set up initiatives, pilots and similar with great results.

Handover waits have been a significant feature over the last few months, and Director of Nursing and Clinical Quality Sandy Brown and I visited Watford Hospital to observe their processes when admitting patients. We also met with some of our EEAST colleagues and our counterparts at the hospital to identify opportunities for improvement.

It’s not only our service that has been experiencing on going pressure, but the NHS as a whole. We have been hard at work with a series of initiatives to help avoid taking patients to hospital and a lot of those projects are becoming successful. The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is currently in talks with us about the Joint Emergency Team (JET) programme, which provides a two-hour response service for urgent but non-life-threatening conditions for the over 50s. Our teams in Herts have been working with their CCGs on providing care to patients in care homes, avoiding a trip to hospital and the early intervention vehicle (EIV) in north Norfolk has also been successful; this model is being considered in Cambridgeshire to support one hospital.

We are also in discussions with our commissioners to ensure all our staff have access to the most up to date alternative referrals pathways. All our projects from JET to hear and treat and ECAT, will help reduce hospital admissions and ease the pressure, not only on us, but on our acute colleagues. Thanks to each and every one of you involved in helping to make these projects work.

And finally, I would like to send my best wishes to Rod Taylor, a Duty Locality Officer in North East Herts retiring after 39 years of service. As part of his day job, Rod has been looking after our heritage collection of vehicles based in Biggleswade. This includes a 1950 Daimler Hertfordshire ambulance called ‘the Duchess’, which is believed to be the oldest running example of such a vehicle. Thank you to Rod for all you have done with this amazing collection to date and best of luck and good wishes with your retirement. You will always be part of the fabric of EEAST; who we are and how we were made.

Have a good week,


Published 16th February, 2017


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