Leadership message from Simon King


Leadership message from Simon King Head of Operations Beds and Luton on 24th September 2020 (transcript):  

Morning! I am Simon Head of Operations for Beds & Luton A&E and also for PTS Beds, Herts and West Essex. We have recently had some great feedback from our patients across the Trust, particularly my area. I noticed that the patient survey scores were really high even compared to normal and I sense the public really appreciate what you are doing so thank you for that. Also some of the comments we’ve had back really stand out not in isolation. This person said:

“The response was very fast, the crew were very thorough in the assessment, they listened, and I was reassured, very efficient but still friendly. COVID measures and PPE were respected, I could not have wished for a better experience”.

Those things that stand out even a quote like that I think sum up what we, what you do so well, fast, thorough, they listened, reassured were efficient and friendly, they're kind of like some words we might put along the side of the ambulance about the things we’re proud that we deliver for our patients day in and day out. The other thing that stood out for me was a couple of responses we got back, and I wasn’t expecting it was there appreciation of us working to keep them COVID safe. So wearing our masks and PPE. I wanted to take this opportunity to say to you, I think its pretty tough at the moment, I think we are built as ambulance people particularly those that work on frontline with patients or in control rooms those kind of environments, we’re built to respond to emergencies. We actually quite like it, we like the adrenaline fuelled rush, we go out, we deal with the job make them safe we come back down again and move on the next one, its just how we are built and trained. But we’ve never before had to deal with something that goes on for such along time and affects us personally. Coronavirus undoubtedly affects us the way it affects our society it makes us worried about our own health, concerned about our families and our relatives, worried what we are taking home all the time. It impacts on our personal liberties, where we can go, what will be open, what we can do with our time off or our time at work and I think people are becoming to find it quite draining, I think its had quite a big impact on our society and we’re across section a sub group of society and so if you're feeling a bit low, its ok to feel like that but its not ok for us not to recognise it. I would just ask all of us, us as managers, and staff alike to look out for each other because we may not be experiencing one of those big sudden traumatic incidents but we are experiencing something that’s quite wearing and grinding, I would want us to keep looking out for each other. If I can help in anyway, please contact me and I together with the other managers in my area will do everything we can to support you during what’s going on at the moment.

The other thing I picked up out in that quote which again surprised me was the appreciation of our patients and the public that we treat the spread of infection seriously with our PPE, can I please just take the opportunity to remind you I’ve heard people say far more eloquently than I can and far better education about disease spread than I will ever have, but I’ve heard them say really effectively you cant expect your everyday normal level of autonomy if we are going to stop the spread of infection in the pandemic. We all need to do the right things together and one of those right things is you just need to be wearing is your mask in the cab we need to be doing it because we’ve got to stop the spread of infection to our families, to our friends, to our community to our patients by first all stopping the spread of it amongst ourselves and also gives a great deal of confidence to our public when they see us driving round taking there health seriously. So please, please wear your mask in the cab.  If for some reason you believe you can’t do that then make an urgent appointment to see one of your LOM’s to agree on some sort of exemption that’s appropriate.

Other things I’d like to talk about in the few minutes I have, is you may not know that in South Bedfordshire we are piloting a Culture Change Programme in response to some things that have happened over the past 12 months. We’ve noticed its been highlighted that we do a lot of things really well but there are some things we just need to do better.  We are doing something that we, mainly staff have come up with the idea Creating out Culture. Very much staff lead, staff engaged programme to see how we can do things better to make everybody feel safe and supported and included and valued and opportunities for development all those things that we talk about so often.

One of the things that keeps coming up within that and in my wider experience of the ambulance service is that we just need to get better value in supporting each other, most of us have come to work in the ambulance service because we are the kind of people who value other people’s wellbeing and health and we want to care for them and support them, and we need to make sure we start that with ourselves and staff. So some of the things that have come up because we’ve been doing this piece of work and very much ongoing at the moment is that staff don’t always feel that they can report something when they don’t feel safe, when there concerned about a colleague, now that might be sometimes because their relationship with their manager isn’t what it should be and we are working really hard on that. It might be that their relationship with their piers may not feel like it’s the right thing to report a concern or that if they report a concern about someone who is popular, it’ll be different if they report a concern about a person who isn’t popular. It seems hard to say these things out loud but there some of the messages we have been getting and we need to change that because of course being the kind of caring individuals we are we need to remind ourselves that the people that most care and support are often those who are in the minorities for smaller groups, people who have less of a voice. 

One of those groups is our BAME staff, black, Asian, minorities, ethnic people. I’m doing a lot of work with them at the moment and with the Trust BAME group and we have our first local BAME forum,on the 14th October, a couple of Wednesday’s at 9:30, it’s for everybody in the pilot area for the BAME work stream development, so this is about engaging our BAME staff giving them some of the information and the control to change things within the organisation, have a voice in the way they’ve not had before and to support one another as a community, so we are doing that on the 14th October, if you are a member of BAME staff in Bedfordshire A&E or in Bedford AOC various parts or in PTS in Beds, Herts and West Essex, please come and join us it will be a teams call, of course, please come and join in and engage in that conversation about what’s working well for our black and Asian staff and those in the minorities and ethnic community and what we need to do better together. If you have not had an invite and would like to come, please contact me directly, we can sort all of that out. 

Can I just say in closing how incredibly proud I am continually of the leaders and staff in my area and across the organisation where I work. Our leaders absolutely knock themselves out day in and day out to support our staff and continue providing the best service they can. Our staff, I just can’t thank you enough for the kind comments we are getting back and certainly locally for the performance we are delivering for our patients. We are doing a great job getting there fast as well as providing a great service once we are there.

Thank you everybody thanks for listening, see you soon.



Published 24th September 2020

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