Leadership message from Terry Hicks

Terry Hicks

You will have seen in recent weeks we have changed our REAP level from 2 to 3. This is as a result of increasing pressures across the trust from increased activity, continuing hospital handover pressures, and reducing staffing levels.

We had been able to mitigate some of this over recent weeks, but the recent increase in staffing shortages, not least through test and trace cases amongst ourselves has meant that we have taken the decision to change our REAP level. As you will know, in recent weeks we have brought in our Fire & Rescue colleagues on bank contracts and began to utilise CFR’s on ambulances in support of our overall workforce, as well as using agency staff and Private Ambulances where we can. We have more staff coming into Norfolk & Waveney in the coming weeks.

We continue to work hard with our system partners to understand what has changed within the hospitals to get a solution to resolve extended handover delays. This is an issue that has hindered us for many years, but please be assured that I will do everything that I can to support you in the impact that delayed handovers has on you and your colleagues and your families.

We will all have seen in local and national media the changes to government guidance, including some delays with the test and trace system, which is impacting in the length of time that it takes to firstly get a test, but then to return a result; whilst we have access to the key worker priority list this has still caused some delays, despite all that our internal teams are doing to support you. It is getting better, but we all need to make sure that we are maintaining our individual and collective responsibility to limit the spread amongst ourselves, which includes the wearing of masks when in the cabs of ambulances.

One impact of the change in REAP level is to unfortunately postpone the ECS courses that we had planned throughout the next few weeks – we will again review this next week, and on a weekly basis to ensure that we can get these back in place as soon as possible. This is a difficult decision, but one where there was no option, as we had looked at all possibilities before doing this. We are committed to providing you with the opportunities to engage in your ECS programme.

I would like to mention the great work that the engagement team of Gary Ball, Lisa Gill, Laura Brown and Emma Jones have been doing to collate your responses from their survey to you over the summer weeks. I will be working with them to create a plan of implementing your ideas and suggestions, but also to look at the greatest impacts to your working environment and work-life balance. I will be creating some local focus groups to help do this in the next few weeks.

I know that everyone is working incredibly hard, and it has been a long year already; thank you for all that you continue to do in support of each other and our patients.

Terry

Published 24th September 2020

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