Being prepared for anything: this week’s leadership message comes from Robert Morton

Robert Morton, CEO

This week, I have seen a number of staff involved with major incident training exercises. Although we never hope to be involved in such incidents, it is so important that we are prepared for the worst at all times, especially given recent events in the UK and across the world.

With that in mind, thank you to all staff in EOC, front line staff and managers across the Trust who undertook ‘no notice’ exercising for Major Incidents last week. This is the start of several ongoing exercises and training to ensure our readiness.  There was fantastic positive engagement and great feedback from those involved.

We tested many areas which included;

  • Test call outs by paging 54 managers in our Strategic, Tactical and Executive on call teams
  • 39 crews gave METHANE messages on our exercise channel for first on scene reporting
  • Staff and managers went through actions for first resources on scene at large scale incidents
  • 16 managers were put through an exercise for triage and IIMARCH situation reporting
  • Crews checked their FFP3 masks and DUODOTE injectors
  • EOC managers exercised on MTFA response and escalation
  • The ‘JESIP principles’ were discussed.

The overall results were very good with staff and managers able to carry out the requested tasks. It was also a great opportunity for learning with questions and answers on many of the subjects. It was obvious everyone was keen to learn more.

It is important that we regularly test our preparedness to ensure that we are ready to respond to what may come our way, especially in light of the senseless attack in Las Vegas earlier this week.  We all need to be more aware than ever of potential terrorist attack obviously, but our exercising this week was also around other types of incident which we know can occur at any time. Further reading is available here on the Resilience and Special Operations section on East24.

At EEAST we are very good at responding to really difficult situations – it is what we are trained to do. This was seen last week, when we were asked by the clinical commissioning groups in Bedfordshire, Luton and Hertfordshire to take over the patient transport service on a caretaker basis at very short notice. What I saw was people coming together to make sure that the patients who rely on this service continue to get the transport they need. We have made real progress in just a few days and we have done this by working closely with colleagues across the NHS. Thank you to all the staff involved who have made this happen and to the management team, especially Alan Whitehead, Wayne Bartlett-Syree, Liz McEwan and her team and the gold commanders and exec colleagues. This is just another example of how far we have progressed as an organisation in such a short space of time.

I would like to congratulate Adrian Clark a driver trainer from Barton Mills, who was nominated for a NHS Innovation Award by Health Enterprise East a couple of weeks ago. The competition challenged NHS staff and small and medium size businesses across the East of England, East Midlands and London to come forward with innovative ideas for products and services that address unmet needs in the NHS and improve patient services. Adrian was nominated in the medical technology category. It's a fantastic achievement to have been nominated, well done Adrian.

Last week I caught up with staff from Bedford EOC to talk about ARP and also met with crews at Lister Hospital to talk about handover delays and the improvements made at the hospital. It was great to meet all of you and have a chat about your concerns and ideas.

It’s that time of year again, winter is coming! As you will have seen, in information attached to your monthly payslip, this winter’s flu programme is imminent. Flu clinics will be up and running across the region and, working for the ambulance service, you’re entitled to have a free flu jab regardless of your role. Flu is highly transmissible and you can infect patients, your family, friends and colleagues even if you only have mild symptoms yourself, or sometimes if you have no symptoms at all. Please take the opportunity to have your vaccine; I will be having mine soon. The vaccination programme is part of our health and wellbeing strategy for staff and dates for flu clinics will be published on Need to Know, so keep an eye out for further updates.

This week I headed out to Norwich to meet EOC, support services and commercial contact centre colleagues. Thank you to Ruth and the team for the work you are doing – it was great to see you in action. I also went to Longwater station to talk with colleagues about improvements and challenges for the winter period.

In just under two weeks, the Trust will be implementing new response standards as part of the Ambulance Response Programme (ARP). As we plan to go live with the new national standards in the early hours of 18th October, a new video has been published on Need to Know to explain what ARP means for you. The video, narrated by Senior EOC Manager Nicholas Jones, covers what ARP means for EOC colleagues, operational staff and our CFRs. The video can be viewed here.

There’s just a few weeks left to sign up to the White Ribbon campaign, the largest global effort of men working to end male violence against women. This is a specific call for men to pledge to end violence against women, something I think every person in this organisation supports. Supporting a campaign like this, goes some way to highlight the men working for EEAST don’t just support the women they work with but every woman in the community. Starting on 25th November, I encourage as many people as possible to wear a white ribbon for one week. A white ribbon is a personal pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women. You can pledge your support to the campaign here.

And finally I’d like to thank the Canvey Island Community First Responder group who have launched four defibrillators in their area recently. Well done and thank you for your hard work.

Have a good week,


Published 5th October, 2017

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