Leadership message from Jessica Watts, Head of Improvement

Jessica Watts NTK

Hello – for those that don’t know me yet, I joined EEAST on secondment from NHS England & Improvement in October 2019 as the Interim Head of Improvement Programmes. As a local person, and user of our services, I am very proud to be working at EEAST and meeting so many of our amazing people. I am working with the Executive Team to support improvement in our Education and Training function and also to support Organisational, and Leadership and Management, Development.

The unprecedented circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic saw the training and education team train over 300 additional new recruits to support our pandemic response and we welcome all of those who have joined us, either temporarily or into a permanent role. We also trained over 500 new workforce and current volunteers to drive vehicles during COVID-19 and saw the police offer us their driver training instructors to support us in this critical effort.

We continue to deliver our clinical training following updated risk assessments to ensure we can keep our workforce safe and work in accordance with the ambulance sector guidance for non-clinical areas. We are looking forward to our Community First Responder (CFR) induction training returning in the coming months in line with the risk assessments and in a new and innovative way which should support our CFR recruitment going forward. In the coming months, the leadership and organisational development team will be rolling out a new leadership and management development programme which you will be hearing more about over the summer and we look forward to many of you joining us on this new and exciting programme, so watch this space.

We are delighted to be launching our new Student and Learner Reference Group, the first meeting is on 2 July at 16:00 via teams. This will create an excellent opportunity for us to engage directly with our students and learners and to hear their views, suggestions and ideas for improvement and feedback and for us to be able to report back on improvements we have made. If you would like to participate, please contact Learner.Voice@eastamb.nhs.uk for further information and to join the meetings. 

An example of feedback we have had recently is from one of our EMT students, Gemma Rowland who told us about her experience:

"Joining EEAST to take part in apprenticeship EMT training was the best decision I have ever made. I have always dreamed of being able to help people in their time of need and now this reality is becoming true I feel so proud and grateful for the opportunity I have been given".  

We have seen fantastic improvement in our statutory and mandatory training and compassionate conversations compliance so keep up the good work on completing your workbooks and we will be focussing on the quality of our appraisals going forward, any queries, please contact our organisational development team.

I am also delighted, as EEAST’s ambassador for the Blue Light Orchestra to support a fantastic campaign in July – the 999Run to raise money to make music therapy more widely available to emergency services workers. Research shows that music can significantly improve psychological health and wellbeing and as a runner and music lover myself I know the enormous benefits playing and listening to music and exercise can bring to our mental well-being, particularly during times of increased stress and anxiety as many of us are experiencing right now. Everyone can take part either by running, skipping or walking 9.99km, 999m or 999 steps or showing support for our EEAST colleagues who do. Please take part and encourage your families, friends and colleagues to do so too! For more information, please see www.999run.co.uk.

I miss coming out and visiting stations and training centres and hope to be able to see you again very soon.

In the meantime please take care and look after yourselves and your colleagues.


Published 2 July 2020

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