Performance through COVID-19

Dorothy Hosein, CEO

I want to thank each and every member of staff for your dedication to our patients and this service, and your willingness to work differently in very fast-moving and worrying times. Given the scale of our operation, our performance over the past months is a major step forward and I am incredibly proud of what you have achieved I am confident we can secure and build on these gains now, to support our patients and resident - and you - for the long term.

Our latest figures show that the Trust is consistently meeting all national standards. We have reduced ambulance response time for category 1 patients by around a quarter - from nearly 8.5 minutes to under seven. Response times to category two calls have been halved.

Much of this rests on changes introduced to manage the expected increases in demand during Coronavirus. These changes were wide-ranging and included new structures for decision-making, innovative ways to create more capacity, and better support for crews. At all times, the safety and experience of patients and staff was at the forefront of our approach.

There is a lot more information I could share with you, but I appreciate how important your time is. I would like though to pull out a few highlights to show how we have responded over the past months.

  • Rapidly recruiting over 900 temporary staff from the military, firefighters, students and community First Responder volunteers
  • fast-tracked recruitment, concentrated training and effective supervision meant 100’s more staff in operation call centres, providing first stage triage on calls, freeing up more experienced staff for more serious calls.
  • fully staffing as a priority the Emergency Clinical Advice and Triage Centre (ECAT) team with experienced paramedics and other professionals to treat non-emergency calls
  • deploying Hospital Ambulance Liaison Officers (HALO) at almost every emergency department across the region, reducing handover times for patients.
  • support from volunteers, student paramedics and local charities to maintain patient transport services
  • huge switch to online meetings to keep staff safe, in-touch and radically reduce travel time for local managers
  • investment in dedicated 24/7 support crews to clean, stock and keep ambulances road-ready
  • Increase in staffing saw a corresponding increase in the hours our staff spent with patients, and reduced the number of late finishes.

We have seen the difference online recruitment and virtual training can make to getting staff numbers up, and we now have the lowest vacancy rate for years. To further support you, we will continue our investment in training, development and wellbeing support. 

I am very proud of what the service has achieved over the past weeks. The challenges of COVID-19 will, of course, continue to evolve. By also evolving rapidly and effectively, EEAST has met the short term challenges and, importantly, prepared for the future. 

We will continue to work together, to plan, listen and learn to provide the best possible response not just to the pandemic, but the needs of all patients, at all times. 

Dorothy Hosein, CEO

Published 25th June 2020

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