Latest leadership message from Dr Tom Davis

Dr T Davis

As the first leadership message of the winter proper, I’m taking the opportunity to look ahead and encourage colleagues to think about what this season will mean to you and the service, and the patients we care for.

Professional standards and development are something that should be in our everyday thinking and actions, and as Marcus said in his recent message we are jointly looking at specialist paramedics and advanced practice. We announced the development of the clinical strategy at the recent clinical briefing days which will encompass this and many other aspects of developing our clinical effectiveness as a service and bettering the care we give our patients.

I would encourage everyone to maintain your curiosity to learn, to reflect, to discuss practice with one another, especially if this is your first time working in the winter months. We see a shift in the kinds of patient conditions we treat – there is an obvious difference, for instance, between taking care of a patient who has fallen outside in the summer to one in the depths of the cold weather. We also see a spike in 999 calls to our service between Christmas and early January, and so talk to colleagues about your experiences and best practice so that we’re all playing out part in improving standards in our responses to patients.

Curiosity was a key reason many of you took part in the recent clinical briefing days, which again help people reflect and learn but in a different environment. You would have come across new colleagues to make connections with, and would have been reminded of the time and dedication people give to innovation and quality improvement. It was great to see so many people take part in debates and discussions about ongoing developments in medical care and I hope that the relationships you started to build that day continue into winter and beyond and have a positive impact on quality patient care at this busiest time.

Our public-facing messaging for winter is something to really get behind, whether you’re on social media to share posts, engage with stakeholders regularly, or are involved in the community in other ways. We will focus winter stories on the innovative steps we take as system leaders to support patient care, such as deploying Early Intervention Vehicle teams, remote access to clinicians delivering hear and treat and welfare to our patients and an on call senior clinical function. Also, we will celebrate the patient stories to help our clinicians tell their story, and of course where necessary assure the public of our preparedness when adverse weather hits.

Health and wellbeing messages are more of an internal-facing priority for us, but we will support our public health colleagues by encouraging people to think about the NHS services available. Research suggests that telling people to ‘only call in an emergency’ or ‘don’t got to A&E’  doesn’t work – telling people not to think about doing something makes them think about it, and our model of response triages non-emergencies so people know they’ll still get some kind of response which to them is better than nothing. 

Instead, people benefit from being reminded what options they have like 111, pharmacy or self-care, and in what circumstances to ring 999, so please support those messages and use the Communications and Engagement colleagues to talk through ideas on better getting that across in the communities you work.

One step you can take for your own wellbeing is to get your flu jab. Not only does it help protect our own patients but the people you come into contact every day like family and friends. 7 out of 10 of us carry the virus with no symptoms so even if you feel well, you could pass the virus onto your patients, family and friends. No-one wants to be the one who is sick in bed with flu, so getting the #JabDone will be one step you can take to help prevent this. It goes without saying too that high standards of hand-washing will make a big difference to risk, and maintaining and improving IPC standards should be a priority every day.

Away from winter wellbeing, I look forward to seeing some of your at next Wednesday’s Trust awards near Cambridge. Not only do they celebrate the long service and commitment of colleagues, but also the special contribution staff and volunteers make every day and thank you to everyone who took time to make nominations. It will be a great opportunity to reflect on quality and professional standards we come across but perhaps don’t stop to think about, and I hope everyone attending enjoys the ceremony.

We’re also joining other organisations in adding poppy ‘decals’ to emergency and PTS vehicles over the coming days. They are being co-ordinated by our Fleet and Service Delivery teams, so if you have any queries please contact your local management team in the first instance. Poppy wreaths are also going out to areas for use at memorial services, and thank you to everyone who takes the time to do these every November.

Stay well and keep warm!


Published 1st November 2018

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