NHS care is a small world: hear from our new Medical Director, Mark Patten (1st September)

Dr Mark Patten web

This week our exec message comes from our new Medical Director, Mark Patten. A few weeks into the role, Mark talks about his roots, his focus, and how NHS care is a small world.

Thank you for such a warm welcome to EEAST. Since starting here, I have tried to meet as many people as possible, an hope to meet many more in the coming weeks

Already I have had the opportunity to meet our fantastic teams in all three EOCs and have gained valuable insight. Many thanks to the call handlers, dispatchers, in fact everyone who put up with me listening in. I have also had a very interesting shift with an ambulance crew and I saw first-hand the ‘outstanding’ caring in action which the recent Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors highlighted. In fact, one of the patients we attended was someone I had first met 18 years ago when starting out as a consultant at Luton and Dunstable NHS Foundation Trust, which proves it really is a small world.

My medical career has spanned nearly 30 years. I have spent 18 of those years at the L&D, starting as a consultant anaesthetist and working my way to Associate then Medical Director, which I have held for the past four years. During those 18 years, I have been on varied secondments including a consultant anaesthetist for three deployments with the Royal Navy Reservists in Kosovo 2003, Iraq in 2007 and Afghanistan in 2011.

I will carry on working two days a week as a consultant anaesthetist, hoping to teach a few more students their clinical skills when they are attached to our theatres.

But back to being  Medical Director at EEAST – one area of focus for me is intelligent conveyancing. Over the last few weeks, I have come to realise that some of the patients we attend and convey to the emergency department were unlikely to need admission and could have gone elsewhere or been managed with extra support at home. We see this time and again and it is often the case that others in urgent and emergency care can raise patient and family expectations that they will be taken to hospital.

I share the ambition of the Trust to work with others to transform urgent and emergency care, so that we see fewer examples of inappropriate conveying to emergency departments. We need to build confidence in our teams that there will be support and backup in the community, if they decide not to convey. This support needs to be much easier to access, and I am planning a few more trips out with crews around the region to understand how best to achieve this.

I’m no stranger to hearing good things about the care our patient facing staff give. My wife is a GP in Hemel Hempstead and she is always giving very positive feedback about our EEAST teams, how they respond and their professionalism. Your welcome to me in the past few weeks has been an example of this as well, and I’m looking forward to realising our ambitions for patient care together.

Have a good week,


Published 1st September, 2016

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