The EEAST roadmap: an update from Wayne Bartlett-Syree, Director of Strategy and Sustainability

Wayne Bartlett Syree   web

Strategy. It’s a word used in organisations across the world, but when it comes down to it, what is a strategy and why do we actually need one?

It’s a word that can make people switch off – often people think their organisation’s strategy is ‘high level’ so doesn’t affect them. But in reality, a strategy is the roadmap the whole organisation follows; it sets out goals and ambitions, and importantly looks at how they’ll be achieved – and we all have a part to play in that.

A big part of any strategy is the culture of an organisation, and its agility to respond to change and develop. Without these two elements - a positive culture and the ability to move forwards by constantly evolving and changing – a strategy is only going to remain aspirational. I am pleased that we are positively developing our culture and have demonstrated our ability to deliver transformational changes, through such projects as the CAD implementation.

When I arrived nine months ago the Trust had already made good steps around developing a strategy, especially around gathering your thoughts on what should be in it and defining the values and vision for the Trust. 

Usually a strategy would be set out over a five year period. However there are some significant challenges in the NHS currently around meeting public expectations against a backdrop of rising demand and delivering the service within the available resources.  And EEAST is not immune to these pressures; we have worked hard over the last few years in what has been a destabilising environment at times. Today we’re setting out our initial strategy to cover the next two years to create the stability the Trust needs to continually improve.

So, our strategy is about building an excellent and sustainable organisation – getting the systems, culture and infrastructure in place that will support us going forward. This takes into account the environment we work in, like ongoing pressures on NHS budgets and public finances; increasing demand for urgent and emergency care from patients; the existing capacity gap we have (i.e. the gap between what we are funded for and what we actually need to meet demand); and increasing scrutiny from our regulators.

Our strategy outlines where we want to go and is also based around our visions and values. In essence we have developed five objectives:

  1. Putting in place a new responsive operating model to deliver sustainable performance and improved outcomes for patients
  1. Maintaining the focus on delivering excellent high quality care to patients
  1. Ensuring we have a patient focused and engaged workforce
  1. Delivering innovative solutions to ensure we are an efficient, effective and economic service
  1. Playing our part in the urgent and emergency care system by being community focussed in delivering the Five Year Forward View.

Under each of these five areas, we’ll have around three to five specific tasks or pieces of work that specify exactly what we’re going to do to make progress. You can see what these priorities are here.

Hopefully none of this is a surprise as we have already started work on some of the above; for example, we have been investing and developing our emergency clinical advice and triage centre (ECAT) in our control rooms as part of our new operating model.

We do need to find ways to be more efficient and effective whilst providing an excellent service to our patients, as we’re being asked to do more with less. The ECAT is a good example of how we can deliver a better and more responsive service to patients and use our resources more effectively. Through ECAT we have been increasing our hear and treat rates, so more patients who don’t need an emergency response can be treated over the phone rather than being seen face to face – better for the patient as they get the advice they need first time and quicker, but also better for us as we can provide a quicker response to the patients who really do need urgent and emergency care.

There is much work still to do, but I hope the strategy will clearly define where we’re going as a Trust. It’ll help us make future decisions by making us ask the question: ‘does this new project or piece of work support and help us to achieve our five strategic objectives?’ I’m looking forward to sharing it with you in more detail over the coming weeks and months and getting your feedback – and then it’s all systems go to make EEAST truly live our vision:

Innovative. Responsive. Excellent. Always community focused. Always patient driven.

Have a good week,


Published 9th March, 2017

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