This weeks leadership message from Mark Patten

Dr Mark Patten web

Over the past weeks I have had a lot of opportunities to see how hard everyone has been working to maintain a safe response to our patients. It has been a truly remarkable effort, and please be assured that we are well aware of the personal impact it has on you, for which we are extremely grateful.

In my other part time role as a consultant anaesthetist I have also seen the pressures that the acute hospitals have been facing, and the knock-on impact it then has on us as an ambulance service. They have not been able to perform a lot of elective surgery and the recovery areas in the operating theatres have become over flow areas for the wards.

Ultimately this affects our service, the poor flow through the emergency departments into the hospitals results in handover delays.

Last winter, when we reviewed our delayed response to patients in the community, I thought there were times when we provided a poor patient experience. However, this winter when we have looked at some of the delays it is clear they have led to poor patient outcomes. If we had not been held up queuing outside hospitals in many cases we would have been able to respond far more quickly.

We should still be very proud of our response to this winter’s pressure. Many of you agreed to work extra hours so that we could provide more resources. The patient safety intervention teams also did a great job in freeing up crews that were stuck in queues.

Please do continue to highlight to us any examples of where you think a patient may have come to harm because of a delay in our response so that we can investigate, as these investigations form the foundations of any future improvements to our service delivery.

I would like to take this opportunity to remind staff that if you or any of your colleagues have been affected by any incidents that you have been involved in then you do have access to the Employee Assistance Programme and can also make a TRiM referral.

I am sure that many of you will have been seeing and treating patients suffering from the current strain of flu and its aftermath. It may even have impacted your own families. There is still time to protect yourself by getting vaccinated. Our current rate for all staff is 64%. I would strongly encourage you if you have not been vaccinated to take up the chance at one of our clinics. If you would like to have your vaccine, please contact your line manager to find out how you can get it.

Finally, I am saddened to say that this is my last leadership message. For personal reasons I will be returning to a full time 100% clinical commitment. I have really enjoyed working with all of you at EEAST. I was made to feel very welcome in every area that I visited. You gave me very valuable insights into the challenges and complexity of the ambulance service. It was always a pleasure to see how everyone worked together to make sure that we were able to respond to our sickest patients out in the communities that we serve every day.

Fortunately I will still have an opportunity to meet students on their hospital placements and hear how EEAST continues to go from strength to strength.

Published 18th January, 2018

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