Message from the Executive team on the CQC inspection report

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We deeply regret having to share this message with you today. As you will know, we underwent a focused inspection from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) during June and July. This inspection focused on the ‘well-led’ domain, which the CQC had rated as inadequate in 2019 due to concerns around continued non-compliance in areas that impacted patient safety, including the Trust’s leadership, capacity and capability, governance and culture. 

Many of you completed the staff survey during this year’s inspection to help the CQC better understand how you feel individually about the culture and leadership here. Thank you for taking the time to do this. 

The results of the CQC’s inspection have been published today and can be seen here. They have found that the Trust still has significant work to undertake in some areas raised in the 2019 report, especially around governance and risk management and complaint handling. In particular, the CQC has highlighted that the Trust must do more and be more consistent in its approach to combatting sexual harassment, bullying and other inappropriate behaviour to protect staff and patients. The CQC has also recommended that the Trust be put into special measures.

In advance of today’s publication, the CQC had issued us with two notices which required that we take immediate action under section 29A and section 31 respectively of the Health and Social Act 2008.

The leadership of the Trust absolutely recognises the seriousness of the safeguarding and related concerns you shared with the CQC. We are sorry we haven’t gone fast enough to address once and for all these long-standing areas of concern. In our push over the past year to drive up performance and increase staff numbers on the front line, we have not given the same focus to, or made the same progress with, these equally important areas. 

The CQC report, and subsequent meetings with NHS England and NHS Improvement and partners, has given us absolute clarity on what we need to do, and by when. We want to reassure you that we have actions underway right now against a clear set of objectives agreed by the Board.

Some the actions already in place include: updated safeguarding policies; using new procedures to record, manage and audit concerns; support and mentoring for staff raising concerns and clearer routes for mental health support and; more robust complaints procedures to make sure we have effective investigations and lessons are learned systematically.

As early as possible in October, every member of staff will be asked to confidentially share their experience of the Trust’s culture, including any sexual harassment, bullying or other inappropriate behaviour. This will help us better understand the issues that you face day to day.

You will also see an awareness month starting in October to raise the visibility of the Freedom to Speak Up Guardian to encourage staff to speak up and new campaigns to encourage positive cultural change and behaviour.

We will be publishing our action plan and progress monthly on Need to Know. 

We are working closely with the CQC, NHS England, our commissioners and other partners and getting support from external experts to put this right for the long-term. Following a referral from the CQC, we are also in contact with the Equality and Human Rights Commission which may lead to the development and implementation of an additional action plan.

We also have an explicit ask of you. If you experience or witness any unacceptable behaviour or have any safeguarding concerns, do please continue to raise it with your colleagues, line manager, Freedom to Speak Up Guardian, call the the 24/7 staff health and wellbeing line on 0808 196 2370 or speak with you union representative. You have our assurance your concerns will be addressed rapidly and appropriately.

Our absolute aim, as set in our five year strategy, is for EEAST to provide outstanding quality of care and performance for our patients and be an exceptional place to work, volunteer and learn. We remain committed to achieving this, and thank you for the commitment, honesty and care you bring to this service every day. It is clear from the CQC survey that the majority of our staff feel proud to work for EEAST. Our role now as leaders is to support every member of staff to feel that pride. We are absolutely committed to fixing the problems.

We have arranged to hold two staff briefings sessions both today and tomorrow where members of the Exec will talk through the report and answer any questions staff wish to put to them.

You are welcome to join any one of the sessions which take place as follows. Just click on the link to join.


Thank you
From the Executive team

Published 30th September 2020

Hello Julie,
Thank for your raising your concerns. Senior leadership roles are of course subject to those in post making a decision to move on to undertake further opportunities but of course we endeavour to try and keep stability in the AOC management team. We have just implemented the first bespoke development days for CHTLs and DEOs and subject to feedback on those intend to roll out further as they seem to have been well received. We will be feeding back all the areas you have raised to the senior leadership team for follow up and please do not hesitate to contact one of the team directly if you wish to have a further individual discussion on the points you have raised.

Internal Communication
28 October 2020

As a volunteer chaplain for the Trust can I say that you are all in my thoughts and prayers at this time. Also available to chat if you wish.
Anne Scott
02 October 2020

Hi Debbie,
Thank you for your comment. Please be assured we are looking to provide more staff sessions around shift patterns in the coming days.
The Communications Team

The Communications Team
02 October 2020

I work in the control room and with respect this has been coming for years. The Trust need to give us 1 SEM to oversee change over a period of years, not months as SEM's are constantly moved on and another takes their place. I can think of 6 over the last few years and just as you think something might happen they move and another one comes in with new ideas. Emails sent to some of them are regularly ignored which makes you feel worthless and changes are not taught any more you just get an email and are expected to follow the new rules. Being taken out of the control room or sit one to one with someone to learn, means you can raise questions and concerns before you start new procedures.
We need a training department that gives us refresher courses, improvement courses, development for SEMD's CHTL's that include Man Management. Our DEO's need to walk round the room on a regular basis to make sure we are doing what we should and check we're ok. To tell staff to put their phones away and not keep sending the same old email out that almost everyone ignores.
We all love a takeaway but staff need to know it is not acceptable to hand out food while there are calls stacking. There are also inefficiencies with Cleric which need addressing to help us be more efficient with calls.

02 October 2020

I was just wondering. You have invited staff to briefing sessions on 2 days at different times on Wednesday and Thursday the last being 1pm. Then you send this out on Thursday at 16.58.
It might of been published yesterday on the trust page East 24 but unless you were at work yesterday, and if your patient facing staff, in your 30 minute break you can fit in, boiling the kettle heating your lunch, making a drink, using facilities, eating and drinking said lunch and drink, and then sit at a computer for 10minutes waiting for it to load, then it is highly unlikely that patient facing staff knew anything about these briefings.

01 October 2020

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