Our 2016/17 priorities: an update from CEO Robert Morton (21st April)

Robert left side in cab smiling   web

I want to start by congratulating our EOC teams this week, as in March we had the third lowest 999 call connection delays in the country. Given that last month we were battling an exceptional surge in demand, and following on from the implementation of a new CAD, this really is to be applauded. We were also in the top four trusts nationally for call pick-up performance last week, and we know that when someone calls us with a life-threatening emergency, every second really does count. There are a lot of people who come together to make these things happen, so thank you not only to everyone involved in EOC, from the call handlers and team leaders helping patients 24/7, and the EOC scheduling teams who work very hard to make sure we have the right level of shift cover against our demand profiles, to those in the IT team who helped put in the telephony and new CAD system so effectively.

It takes teamwork to bring these things together, and it’s hugely important in what we do every day. I hope you will have seen the news that we have won the patient transport services contact for Cambridgeshire. This simply wouldn’t have happened without absolute dedication and teamwork from our non-emergency teams. And in preparation for our CQC visit, we saw colleagues from across the organisation really come together to just make things happen. In particular, our ambulance fleet assistant and emergency operations administrators (EOA) colleagues really pulled out all the stops in their respective fields. Our EOA teams have also been exceptional in helping to source and organise placements for our diploma and Bsc students. I had a meeting with Anglia Ruskin University this week about student experience, and the placements play such a key role.

I talked a few weeks ago about the discussions we are having with commissioners to address the capacity gaps we have, both in the short and long term. These discussions continue, but in the meantime we have set out what our priorities for 2016/17 should be. These fall into three areas: improving service delivery to patients; shaping our future; and creating a positive and engaging culture. In a bit more detail:

Improving service delivery to patients

  • Implementation of an agreed remedial action plan
  • Commence implementation of a revised operating model including a new clinical career pathway
  • Implement the Trust Quality strategy.

Shaping our future

  • Create a stable executive leadership team
  • Develop a Trust strategy to be followed by supporting strategies for workforce, IM&T, fleet, finance and estates
  • Exploit all collaboration opportunities, including engaging in all vanguard projects.

Creating a positive and engaging culture

  • Undertake a cultural audit and embed our visions and values
  • Implement staff leadership development and aspiring manager programmes
  • Develop and implement a staff retention plan
  • Roll out a staff engagement plan.

There are some big ticket items in there for us, particularly the implementation of a new operating model.  I’ve spoken about it before, but the this model essentially looks at creating clinical hubs in our EOC so we can manage more patients over the phone, developing our workforce so we have more specialist paramedics able to treat more patients in the community. You may have seen our recent advertisement for Intermediate Care Practitioners and Associate Ambulance Practitioners which will support the introduction of both additional emergency capacity and a regional wide intermediate level tier of service. Please refer to the recruitment brief issued to all colleagues by email on the 15th of March last.

Changing our culture is also absolutely vital and we have made some really positive inroads already, especially as we embed our vision and values into our everyday lives.  The cultural audit will guide us as to what else we need to do and areas or themes we need to tackle – please take the time to complete the survey which will be sent to your home address in the next few weeks. This is also about developing our managers and leaders so we can better engage with and support colleagues. All of this, coupled with clear clinical career pathways and development opportunities, will help us to become an employer of choice in the region.

These priorities also start looking to the future and what we want our ambulance service to be and do.  This will be captured in our new strategy which is being developed and we aim to publish at our annual public meeting in July. It is also about how we can help the NHS, and the wider health and social care system, change and provide better services to patients locally.

And finally, I wanted to touch upon our ongoing discussions around late finishes, and how we are working to find that balance between patient safety and staff wellbeing. As discussions are currently on going I will need to await the outcome of that process before I am able to share further details.

Published 21st April, 2016

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