Leadership message from Marcus Bailey

Marcus Bailey

I hope you have managed to spend time over Christmas to relax and be with family and friends  - either in person, socially distanced or through the wonders of technology. It has been a long and challenging year for EEAST, so please do try and recharge when you can.

This has been a busy week and I wanted to reflect back on how the Trust has performed during these past days. It’s clear that the level of planning and assurance we put in place for winter and Covid, and our learning over the first phase, has made the service much more resilient than in previous years.

We have seen some large increases in call volumes but have maintained our response for our most seriously ill patients. Valuable additional capacity has been freed up by our Hear and Treat teams, with up to one-in-five calls no longer needing an ambulance dispatched in some areas.

The Trust has also provided mutual aid to the London Ambulance Service in the form of staff, vehicles and call handling support. With London’s NHS under extreme pressure, this support has been gratefully received, and EEAST has been recognised as a strong system partner. For those of you who have supported London whilst on shift I am extremely grateful for your understanding. We have been learning everyday about COVID and the impact on healthcare. I am grateful to UNISON for the discussion on challenges and improvements for our crews who supported LAS to implement actions and immediate learning.

This doesn’t happen by accident. Being on call and in the office over the Christmas period, I saw and experienced daily the efforts being made by staff at every level to provide the best possible service for all patients. Interim Chief Executive Tom Davis, during his calls with regional and national NHS colleagues over the same period, was able to feedback our performance for patients and progress to provide them with some welcome reassurance.  I would particularly like to thank the AOC teams for managing patient calls and the pending workload, along with dispatch and clinical oversight and triage. I would like to thank the operational teams for coming in to support London and for those who were at work and not spending time at home. In addition a thank you goes to our leadership teams for working and supporting staff and patients.

Planning, teamwork and effective delegation and escalation are making a difference. We are managing Christmas, Covid and supporting other regions. We have also had flooding, and snow may be on the way. So although we are doing well, we will not let confidence turn to complacency.

Two final points related to complacency. First, we have been asking every member of staff to follow the Covid protocols. With the increased risk due to the new strain of coronavirus, these protocols are more important than ever so must be followed. Secondly, I would like to remind staff about our Social Media Policy. It is easy to forget that nothing is ever really private on social media, so please do think before you tweet or post at work. Also, there is a lot of media interest in how the NHS is coping at the moment, so if you are contacted by the media, please refer them to our Communications team.

Finally, can I take this opportunity on behalf of the whole executive team to wish you a safe and happy New Year, and the return of more normality in 2021.

Marcus Bailey
Chief Operating Officer