This week’s leadership message comes from Kevin Brown, Director of Service Delivery

Kevin Brown director of service delivery

Since my last message and as you will all know, there have been a number of devastating incidents in our neighbour Trust London and Manchester. I’d like to take this opportunity to say, my thoughts and prayers are with everybody affected. I know from my time in London that the amount of preparation and training done really was evident.

From incidents like these, we do tend to think.  It’s something we hope does not come our way, but it may so it is therefore important we are prepared and know what to do. At some point you may be asked to respond to something in our region or offer mutual aid.  We will no notice exercise at some point to test every level of our organisation.  I would ask that everybody in patient-facing roles has refreshed themselves and thought about your response if deployed in any role to such an incident.

I’d like to say thank you to everybody who has in any way been involved so far. I particularly want to thank both the gold and  silver teams, who have had to step up into action at various times and make sure they are ready to support others, and our resilience and HART teams who equally have been put into a state of readiness to support.

As Robert said last week, it’s always a tough thing to hear sad news in our 999 family. Just this morning we heard the very sad news that Ely Paramedic Lance Cox has passed away. Our thoughts are very much with Lance’s family, friends and anyone who knew him. Earlier this month, we also heard the news that much-loved colleague Martin Manning, who worked with Patient Transport Services had passed away.  Martin’s funeral will be taking place next month and I will be attending to pay my respects on behalf of the executive team. I have been saddened to hear about the recent passing of a number of colleagues and my thoughts are with their families, friends and colleagues.

It’s really welcome to have beautiful weather, but as we know too well, when it’s too cold or too hot, our demand shifts massively. I also know all too well, as someone with very little head coverage, that it only takes a matter of minutes to get burned! So please remember to stay protected, take water out and hydrate well. On protracted incidents, we will mobilise water if we are experiencing a heatwave and I thank all of the managers for keeping your welfare at the forefront of their minds.

I did two interviews with BBC this week on the impacts of hot weather and to give some advice to patients about expecting to wait whilst we priorities those with the greatest needs first. Unfortunately, with other news, the 90 minutes we spent doing this and giving our messages of thanks to you for what you are doing ending up being a sound bit of about 20 seconds – so again, I thank you and recognise the challenge of working on the hottest of days.

One thing I’m asked about a great deal is uniform during the hottest months. We are aware that working shifts in the heat is hard work, especially wearing the uniform. We do expect the green shirt to be displayed, as it identifies you and your role, and is particularly important in current times.  We have had serious incident learnings which relate to staff not knowing skill mix, so the solution is not simple. I will ask our uniform working group to have a serious look into this matter and bring forward any recommendations. In the meantime, if you have comments we can pass on, please post below.

As I’ve said before we have many more patient facing staff in our organisation now and some localities are fully staffed, or indeed overstaffed. Therefore any additional money we have will remain heavily focussed on our own staff with available funding for overtime targeted to areas where vacancies still exist. We have significantly reduced our private ambulance provision to do this.

As part of the executive team, we recognise how hard everyone continues to work in all areas of the Trust. I continue to go out to incidents, largely in my own time, to support you and see first-hand the outstanding level of care we provide. This makes me feel really proud of the people I work with. A few of the incidents I have been to recently have been very serious and involved death. Each time I have received a follow up about my own wellbeing from the trauma risk management (TRiM) team. I’m really impressed with the team for checking on me and feel, as many of you do, incredibly supported by them. It’s a reminder that TRiM really helps provide that support to you, if you have suffered any traumatic stress at work of any kind.

We are continuing to progress our CQC action plan. There is still much to do, but much has been done and thank you everyone for this.  Our main focus is ensuring everyone’s personal responsibility of medicines management and identifying and reporting risk. I also urge you that if you have any questions or gaps in what you understand about our direction of travel and you can’t find it on N2K or East24, to ask your local management teams. If they don’t know, they will find out. They will feedback to us and we really welcome any questions, so we can help get that information out to you all.

I will be spending some time next week on my travels in Norfolk, to visit stations and talk to staff. I welcome any questions or any feedback and I look forward to meeting staff in the county. I have spent time this week with EOC at Chelmsford and saw first-hand the pressure they are under with the demand from the heat.

On a personal note, this Sunday I will be opening up my garden for charity as part of the National Garden Scheme. I’ve been working hard, when I’m not in greens, out in the garden getting green fingered and getting it up to scratch. We raised £700 last year and hope to exceed that this year. All proceeds will go to many charities related to health.

Have a good week and again, thank you for all that you are doing to support each other and for our patients.


Published 22nd June, 2017

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