Clinically improving, EEAST awards, and the fantastic Team Finnbar: update from CEO Robert Morton (8th September)

Robert Morton, CEO

I’ve been following the progress of our fantastic Finnbar500 team on Twitter this week, who started their 500 mile ride from Cork to Norwich on Tuesday (6th) in memory of brave Finnbar Cork.

The team of seven riders are all friends and colleagues of Finnbar’s mum Claire and dad Tristan, one of our Longwater paramedics. Every penny this incredible team raise will go to charities to aid research into childhood brain tumours and support other families affected by this devastating illness. You can read Finnbar’s story on our website or via the Eastern Daily Pressand if you’d like to support our ambulance team in what they’re doing, you can do so via their JustGiving page. I hope they get the support, and huge cheer, they deserve when they cross the finish line on Saturday.

Despite it being the tail end of the summer holidays, it’s been a busy few weeks for the service. My thanks go to Sandy Brown, our Director of Nursing and Clinical Quality, for deputising for me whilst I was away, and to the rest of the executive team for keeping their various parts of the EEAST ship on course. It’s been back to business this week, and on Tuesday (6th) I was pleased to meet a number of MPs at our Bedford office to talk about how we and hospitals link together, work together, and impact on each other. In particular we talked about how our service affects hospitals’ ability to deliver four-hour A&E targets. Our busy activity obviously impacts on acutes and vice-versa, and it was useful to talk through and explain the finer details of that with the Health Select Committee group.

Tuesday was also the deadline for us to submit our draft action plan to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following our inspection results in August. This plan contains everything we’re already doing, and everything we’re going to do, to improve on the points the CQC raised. Once the CQC has reviewed it, it will go to key stakeholders like our clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and regulators for comment. When that’s done and a final plan has been agreed by all sides, we’ll upload it to our website and share with all of you.

We’ve seen a steady improvement in our A&E performance over the last five months, so I’d like to express a sincere thank you to you all – please know that I understand how hard everyone is working. Even better, we’ve seen an improvement in our ambulance clinical quality indicators (ACQIs) over the last six months as well; these are the targets that look at the clinical care we actually give to our patients when we reach them and cover things like stroke and heart attack care, amongst others. Arguably, anyone could get to a patient quickly but not everyone could deliver great care when they got there. And that’s where you come in - you continue to do that every day and deliver high-quality care to people when they need it most. A thank you to our six area clinical leads as well for their focus and work in helping make these improvements happens, well done.

You may have seen the update last week in Need to Know, but we’re now on the four-week countdown to our next awards ceremony. I’m thoroughly looking forward to formally recognising and celebrating colleagues, whether it be for commendations, winners in specialist categories as nominated by you, those newly qualified, or for long service. Early this week I signed the certificates for those receiving their 35-years’ service awards, and I was astounded by just how many there were. We are incredibly lucky to have so many colleagues who have worked here for 10, 20, or in these cases, 30+ years. Not many organisations can claim such a wealth of experience and knowledge in their colleagues, and I look forward to congratulating you all in person next month.

Have a good week,


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