From band 6 paramedics to football: an update from Deputy Chief Executive, Sandy Brown

Exec   Sandy Brown New OPT

Well, the wind and rain seem to have finally died down after the gusts of Storm Doris last week. It made driving conditions really difficult, not least when responding on blue lights; we took something in the region of 30 calls from people that had been injured as a direct result of the weather (most of which were people who had been physically blown over in the 70mph winds). Thank you to all of you who worked across the few days and managed to carry on as normal. We’ve officially said goodbye to winter now, with our ‘Wise up for winter’ campaign coming to a close this week, so here’s hoping for warmer and lighter days ahead.

The big ticket item this week has been the newly qualified paramedic (NQP) programme that was announced as part of the national paramedic banding agreement, which I know a lot of you have been discussing on station and across social media. The NQP programme will apply to all paramedics who have qualified on or after 1st September, 2016, so as you can imagine, there is a lot of work to be done both nationally and by us to implement it; we’re working together with the relevant parties and we’ll share the information on how we’ll be implementing it as soon as we’re able.

The quality and improvement and clinical teams have been continuing our quality roadshow visits at pace, with Bedford and Chelmsford EOCs and Martlesham and Cambridge patient transport service (PTS) bases having planned and unplanned visits over the last few weeks. The interaction from colleagues has been great, and our PTS visits in particular were a really positive experience. It was evident that a huge amount of hard work has gone into making improvements in PTS by staff and managers, and it didn’t go unnoticed. The point of the visits is to spot areas of really good practice and help to share them, so that others areas can benefit and improve. Feedback is given to colleagues at the time, and the quality improvement team also follows up with a report to support the local team going forward. Visits are on the cards for Waveney and west Herts stations next week, so do keep an eye out and say hello.

Containing the ‘learning and improving theme’, we’ve worked with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and NHS Improvement (NHSI) to format some action plans following our CQC visit last year; these are published on our website for you, the public and stakeholders to have a look at if you’re interested in seeing what we’ve already done, and what else we hope to do. Progress against the actions is monitored by the senior leadership team, executive team, and non-executive directors, as well as the CQC and NHSI. We are all really proud of the hard work that continues as we work to turn our ‘requires improvement’ into a ‘good’ rating, and to maintain the ‘outstanding’ rating we achieved for care.

That really is a team effort, and we all need to follow safe and best practice in everything we do. I was really pleased to see our latest ambulance clinical quality indicator (ACQIs) results, which are from December; the ACQIs are targets, but they’re targets based around the actual clinical care we give to people – not how quickly we get to them. As an example, Trust-wide in December we achieved 24.8% for return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC). This might seem like a low number but getting a successful ROSC (cardiac output after an arrest) on someone is no easy task, and getting a ROSC for nearly one in four people is an excellent clinical achievement. We still have work to do in some areas, but we’re consistently achieving our care bundles for STEMI (90.5%) and stroke care (98.9%). For the non-clinical among you, a care bundle is a package of specific clinical interventions, like oxygen therapy and giving relevant drugs, that are known to benefit patients’ clinical outcomes. These stats reflect the high levels of care that you give to our patients, which is something to be very proud.

And finally, I have a huge thanks to the Bedford EOC team, who have let an aging footballer join them in their seven-a-side games. I have mainly been on the winning side, but it’s been a bit too close for comfort. We need a Trust tournament in the summer!

Have a good week,


Published 2nd March, 2017

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