Developing our EOCs and better supporting staff

HEOC call handler

Our EOCs are nearly always the first point of contact and sometimes the first point of care for our 999 patients. Therefore getting the service we provide at that first point of contact correct is absolutely vital and will help us ensure we get the right help to patients, be that treatment and advice over the phone or sending a clinician to help the patient and manage the sheer  volume of calls we receive every day. For this reason our EOCs need to be at the heart of everything we do and will not only be there managing patients and our resources, but also offering support to our staff on the road.

Over the last few months, the Trust has been working closely with UNISON to better support and develop our EOC staff. In particular, we have had high turnover in our call handling teams coupled with a limited career pathway. Following this partnership work, we are pleased to announce the following has been agreed:

  • 1. The creation of a Senior Call Handler role, formally supporting the Call Handling Team Leader and the team and taking on additional responsibility for issues including mentoring, training, reflective practice and quality assurance. It is likely that there will be a fixed ratio of Senior Call Handler to Call Handlers. This is currently going through the HR job evaluation process, but we anticipate that this role is likely to be Agenda for Change (AfC) band 4. The criteria for application and next steps will be published following completion of the HR process.
  • 2. Alongside this, the Call Handling Team Leader job description is being revised and will include specific leadership, management, accreditation and cultural guardian responsibilities. Again this is currently going through the job evaluation process and we anticipate this will now move to an AfC band 5 role.
  • 3. A review of the dispatch and Dispatch Team Leader roles will be undertaken following the new CAD roll out to Norwich and Chelmsford. This will be part of the overall review of our deployment model and will take place in 2016/17 and will include developing revised job descriptions for these roles.
  • 4. We will continue and extend current our work on mentoring and development for EOC roles as part of a clear and structured career pathway framework.¬†

Gary Morgan, Head of EOCs said: "I am pleased that through good partnership working we have been able to develop these changes which will better support and benefit staff. Working in EOC is challenging given the ever increasing number of 999 calls we receive. These new roles will help us provide a better service to patients, better support our staff, provide a clear career framework for staff and put in place a more robust supervisory, assurance and leadership framework."

Published 6th February, 2016

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