For Lorna, and for Cade: an update from CEO Robert Morton, 14th July

Robert right side in cab alt   WEB

My thoughts have very been much with our Beds and Herts teams this week, as they come to terms with the loss of one of their own, Lorna Marriott. We will be joining Lorna’s family next Thursday to say goodbye and will be providing her with a Guard of Honour, as we absolutely should for anyone in our ambulance family. I hope it will provide some comfort to Lorna’s family to see and know how highly she was regarded as a not just a capable technician, but as a friend to so many people. We stand together for her.

Losing a colleague, particularly in an environment like the ambulance service where your station really does become your second family, can be devastating. Working in an emergency service we’re unfortunately reminded every day of how fragile life can be, and we all get up and come into work every day to try and make a difference in that. And what a difference you do make – I was exceptionally proud to see this story about Cade Ewington shared in the national media this week; Cade is just 11 years old, and was swimming last month when he had a cardiac arrest and stopped breathing for 25 minutes. Thanks to the actions of the lifeguards at the pool, and our own team of Michael Harnell, Sarah Wright, Julia Horswell, Cath Fry, Emily Wallis, and Chris Martin, this happy, smiley little boy is now back at home with his family. Everything we do, and all the pieces of the EEAST puzzle, work and fit together so that we can give people like Cade a chance, that’s what it’s all about. Michael, Sarah, Julia, Cath, Emily and Chris – well done, and thank you. I am so pleased that you got to be reunited with Cade under happier circumstances.

People like Cade are living proof of excellent clinical care and the cardiac arrest ‘chain of survival’ working as they should. Cardiac arrests are never easy, and I know that some of our Luton team has been learning more about that chain of survival this week as our second cardiac arrest bootcamp got underway. As well as getting to refresh clinical skills with scenarios and kit like the EZ-IO, the day looks at some of the more simple skills we need to manage cardiac arrests well, like good communication. More dates will be coming soon (and will be advertised on Need to Know), and I’d really encourage of many of you as possible to go along and see what it’s all about.

I know that many of you are still feeling the pressure at the moment; I touched base in Saffron Walden last week, and spoke at length with one of my longer-serving paramedic colleagues about the difficulties he’s been having in getting annual leave or being abstracted for training. Work-life balance should not be underestimated and I appreciate that this issue, whilst it might seem simple on the surface, actually has a huge impact on your lives as people, and that of your family as well. So my paramedic colleague and I talked about some of the causes; rise in activity, our capacity gap and student paramedic abstractions unfortunately all come into play again here. We’re getting more Red calls than ever before, we need many more staff than we currently have, and from now until the end of August we’re due to lose between 2,500-6,000 hours every single week for student paramedic abstractions so that they can continue their course training. Those are hours that we have lost without considering sickness, annual leave or other training as well, which is why it can be difficult to get these things approved. I know that doesn’t help the frustrations on a personal level when you’re trying to book leave or attended a training course, particularly in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire who are the most affected, but please bear with us as there is light at the end of the tunnel. Once our students start to qualify and become registered, starting in March next year, we, and more importantly you, will start to see some respite.

Have a good week,


Published 14th July, 2016

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