This week's leadership message comes from Chief Executive Robert Morton

Robert Morton, CEO

The Beast from the East has taken a hold of the region – and our staff and volunteers have gone above and beyond to get to patients. I’ve heard stories of staff walking to work, managers out picking staff up to take them to stations, CFRs offering extra cover and doing all they can to get to patients in some hard to reach areas.

On top of the incredible commitment and determination shown by our own people during this time of extreme weather, there have been some real community champions helping us; farmers with tractors pulling our ambulances to hard-to-reach patients, snow ploughs clearing the way for us to get to RTCs and even companies with 4x4s offering to take staff into work. #WeAreEEAST and it’s during times like these that our teamwork makes us who we are.

This week has also seen the launch of a new video that summarises who we are, what we do and -most importantly – who our people are. This is a fantastic piece of work which we have shared with the wider public today. I would like to thank all those who contributed to the script and making of it.

We’re getting to good and beyond. This video shows how our staff live by our values, what we are moving towards and - with the CQC expected any day now - we hope the inspectors will recognise the leaps we’ve made and the steps we’re taking to take us much beyond good.

Last week’s message was from Sandy Brown, in which he announced his retirement. Sandy will be missed as both a colleague, executive member and by some, a footballer! Sandy has been at the Trust for three years and has provided vital clinical governance leadership. His extensive NHS background has been a key factor in informing and driving the Trust forward clinically. I know his influential work will continue with the fantastic team he has built. It is fair to say that every possible regulator has kicked the tyres on the quality systems and processes that Sandy and his team have put in place. They have stood up to every test, demonstrating that the quality systems within EEAST are second to none.

In other news, I spoke with a group of regional MPs in Parliament recently to update them with the Trust’s winter plans, the festive period and future plans to address the capacity gap we all know exists. Supported by my peers from the executive team, we addressed several of their concerns and also stressed how the NHS system pressures played a huge part on our response this winter. At every regional briefing we ask MPs for their support to secure the additional investment we need to deliver a better service for patients and staff.

The executive team also attended a follow up meeting with the chairman of the risk summit on Friday 16th February in Fulbourn. Representatives from both NHS England and NHS Improvement were pleased with the progress we had made on the actions to date, in particular those relating to increasing our capacity for the remaining winter period, keeping our patients safe and our scrutiny of the festive period.

I also would like to take this opportunity to thank all our hard-working staff – clinicians who have been doing additional shifts, clinical managers responding to calls and support staff working hard to ensure our planning and forecasting is complete weeks in advance and keep our staff supported in terms of both their wellbeing and the fleet and equipment they need. I know the latest request for planning until the end of quarter one is challenging but it is essential to meet the expectations of the risk summit outcomes. Thank you all for all you are doing.

It is important during times when workloads are high that we remember to look after ourselves and one another. The Trust has an array of wellbeing options available to our staff. Do use the fantastic wellbeing team to ensure you keep your welfare at the top of your agenda. All the options are available here: http://east24/health-and-wellbeing.htm

One of our strengths is teamwork, which is why it is one of our values. This winter has been very challenging for the entire NHS and I continue to be humbled by the way our staff support each other, care for one another and seem to always remember what is great about EEAST. Reading over some of the many thank you letters we have received reminds me of the way our staff continue to deliver the best care they can for patients.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our PTS colleagues, Jon Hazelgrove and Leslie Breener who bravely assisted with the extrication of a patient from a burning vehicle at a road traffic accident last week. One of many examples of EEAST staff doing all they can to best care for patients. A huge thank you to all those who were involved with this difficult job.

I was very saddened to hear of the sudden and unexpected passing of John Muir who worked for PTS in North Essex. We are doing all we can to support his family and colleagues during this difficult time.

Finally, can I remind staff to speak out. If you see something in either the Trust or the communities you work in that does not feel right, I urge you to say something. Of equal importance, is the need to speak up and speak out when you see something being done well. We have a robust and supportive Freedom to Speak Up scheme for this purpose: http://east24/You-Matter/freedom-to-speak-up.htm

Have a good week and let’s hope spring is upon us soon!

Published 1st March, 2018

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