Leadership message from Jackie Nugent

Jackie Nugent

I want to focus this week’s leadership message on celebrating some of the fantastic improvements to our fleet and estates which have taken place during the past 12 months. There’s a lot to report, none of which would have been possible without the support of colleagues from across the Trust, so I’ll kick off by saying thank you to everyone who has worked so hard to help drive these projects forward.

As you will already know, more than 200 of our bespoke Fiat ambulances are now on the road with more due to follow soon. As well as bringing significant financial savings to EEAST, they are also providing much-improved facilities for our patients and colleagues on the frontline. At the same time, the operations support team have sourced a lighter, more fuel-efficient rapid response vehicle to help us reduce our environmental impact, with all 70 now in use.

Alongside this work, we have also reviewed the way our fleet is allocated so that we can make sure we have sufficient vehicles in each area to meet demand, in line with the improvements tied into the Building Better Rotas programme.

As part of our drive to track all clinical equipment, we have installed telematics and RFID (radio frequency identification) in 550 operational vehicles with 95% of our medical devices now tagged. Fleetwave – our new fleet database – has also gone live and is helping us to monitor fleet use and capacity in real time which in turn allows us to plan more effectively and improve our response to peaks in operational demand.

We are really pleased that our inhouse workshops have launched at five sites, which means our newly-recruited vehicle technicians and workshop supervisors are helping us get our vehicles back on the road more quickly. Our make ready service has also gone live at the same five sites, which is making a difference to frontline staff by ensuring there is always a fully-stocked and checked vehicle ready to go so that they can get back out into the community more quickly.

Like all large transformation programmes, we are learning on the journey and would always encourage feedback or suggestions for further improvement. 

Elsewhere, we have carried out an extensive review of our estates and have put together a backlog maintenance programme as well as planning the work which will be needed in the future. A schedule for redecorating our properties has been drawn up, and will be delivered alongside the improvements which colleagues raise with us during our weekly site visits. We have leased a new store in Mildenhall to help us recycle furniture and equipment more efficiently. The estates team have also supported the Building Better Rotas programme by significantly upgrading many stations, with more to come.

During the year, estates have also carried out £500,000 of capital projects to reduce risk and improve the facilities from which we work. This includes installing new vehicle charging points for our electric vans and a new security system at Barton Mills, improving the training facilities at Welwyn Garden City, removing asbestos and replacing some of our heating boilers and general improvement to premises.

We are particularly proud that we have been able to hit our cost improvement target of £350,000, while also delivering these important projects. This has been achieved through working closely with procurement colleagues to retender all of our maintenance contracts. We are now working to provide a more transparent and efficient service and will be using our fault reporting system (MiCAD) to manage and monitor contractors’ performance. 

The integrated transformation programme is moving rapidly into its next stage, with four more make ready hubs and workshops due for roll-out this financial year. Once NHSE has approved our business case, we will move quickly to introduce the rest of our make ready bases. We are also working on other potential funding streams to accelerate the programme and have started discussions with local councils to raise additional funds when planning applications for new housing are submitted. This will help to make us financially sustainable as the population changes around us.

Over the next few months, our focus will be on embedding sustainability in every area of work, with the support of our new sustainability manager. As well as reducing waste, energy use and the amount of fuel used by our fleet, we will also prioritise the introduction of recycling across the Trust.

We will keep you informed as these plans develop, and hope that you will support us as we move towards becoming a greener and more efficient Trust. Please contact us with your views and ideas as we embark on the next phase of our transformation programme later this year, as we want to make sure that the changes we make are inclusive of our internal and external stakeholders.

Thank you once again for your support.


Published 3rd September 2020

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