Staff idea for late finishes launching next week

Blurred ambulance

We have now gathered the data from June to show the extent of late finishes.

We need to analyse this data to help us develop the right solution and pinpoint the actual problems, but it is clear that late finishes continues to have an impact on staff, especially during the evening handover.

The underlying solution is to recruit more frontline staff, so we have more ambulance cover. As you know, last year we recruited 400 student paramedics and we are looking to recruit another 400 this year, with more than 250 contracts offered already. It will take time to recruit and train these staff so in the short term we need to see what else we can do to better support staff.

Over the coming months we will continue to gather further data on late finishes to help us inform our decision making. We want to avoid making piecemeal decisions that may make the situation worse for patients and staff, including EOC staff.

Your feedback

Indeed we have had some anecdotal feedback from staff that the current policy of only sending crews to red calls in the last hour may actually be making the issue worse. Due to our ongoing need for more ambulance cover, current frontline crews are often being allocated red calls within this last hour at the end of shift which takes them passed their finish time, sometimes by quite some length of time as these patients are often very sick and cannot wait for crew changeovers or other mitigations to assist getting crews off on time. 

The suggestion put forward from some of you was that you would rather respond to a local urgent or green call during your last hour of a shift knowing these jobs would take you up to or close to your finish times, rather than waiting to see if you are allocated a red call.

The pilot

Therefore as of Tuesday (18th August), we will be implementing a pilot of an idea put forward from some frontline and EOC staff. This pilot will allow you to volunteer to take a green or urgent call in the last hour of your shift. This is to test whether the current policy of not sending crews on green or urgent calls is actually making crews later off. 

This is a completely voluntary trial – ambulance/RRV crews wanting to take up this option will just need to contact EOC and ask if there are any local green or urgent calls they want to take in their last hour.  Clearly, if they are en-route to such a call and a red call comes in and they are the nearest resource, they will still be diverted to the red call as per Trust protocol.

What you can do to help us

We are also looking at how we can better support staff who are late off and how we can minimise the really late finishes that occur. To help us have a better understanding of the impact of such extended late finishes, we want staff who finish more than an hour and a half late to send the keyword ‘EOS90’ via the MDT before they book clear or out of service. This will ensure it is recorded in the CAD system and we can then use that to search all the CAD records of finishes over 90 minutes.

We understand your frustration with late finishes and we ask for your continued patience as we look to put in place the right solutions; solutions that are safe for patients and better for you. We will keep you updated through Need to Know, but please keep giving us your thoughts, opinions and ideas – you can leave them in the comments box below or speak directly to your management team.

Published 13th August, 2015

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