This week’s message is from Chief Executive Robert Morton

Robert left side in cab smiling   web

Hearing examples of our staff going above and beyond the call of duty is something I’m proud to say seems to be a regular occurrence for me – and this week is no exception.

Earlier this month, Essex Paramedic Barbara Shreeve received a police award for helping to apprehend a drink driver. When Barbara saw a man driving erratically, while on shift, she managed to stop the driver and call for back up at the incident last October. Barbara was presented with a certificate of merit from Chief Superintendent Rachel Nolan, from Essex Police, for pulling over the man, who was later charged with drink driving. Congratulations Barbara – you are a credit to the Trust and we are all proud of you.

As we all know, the first few minutes of any life-threatening emergencies, such as cardiac arrests, are the most important. This was very much the case when Paramedic Dale Gedge saw runner Tim Warner collapse, while watching the Run Norwich 10K road race. Dale immediately began CPR and after using a defib, which was close by, Tim began to breathe on his own. Just five minutes later he was conscious and talking, which was amazing. Since then, Dale has carried out media interviews calling on the public to learn CPR. This is fantastic work Dale, well done.

I recently heard about a care home in Cambridgeshire which was closed by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). With very little notice, staff from our Patient Transport Service (PTS), stayed until late to ensure all patients were moved to new premises, something the services are not contracted for. The teams received well-deserved brilliant feedback from the Deputy Chief Nurse at Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). Thank you for your great care to our patients.

The Independent Service Review work continues and the final report is due mid-September. For those unsure of the review, it is commissioned by NHS Improvement and NHS England and is well underway. It was an important concession to secure in our contract for 2017/2018 and one of the key reasons why we could not agree a two year contract like most of the NHS.Our regulators and commissioners have agreed to look at our current capacity requirements and any future resourcing we require. This report will form the basis of future contract negotiations between EEAST and our Commissioners. Once we have received the report, we will be holding briefing sessions for all managers and let you know our findings. We will also be briefing UNISON. Once the Trust Board has seen and discussed it,we expect that the owners of the Report will allow us to publish it on our website..

Work continues on the Ambulance Response Programme and we have established a Project Board to develop and oversee a number of work streams. We will keep you up to date with any information you will need over the coming months.

We’ve seen some fantastic work from Emergency Clinical Advice and Triage (ECAT) work as the Hear and Treat CQUIN (Commissioning for Quality and Innovation) has been delivered on target. From a patient facing staff perspective, ECAT has reduced the number of responses required to patients whose needs can be met over the phone. I’d like to thank all the team for your hard work in achieving this goal, but particularly Sandra Treacherfor her leadership of the team..

Last week South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust published a report stating that more than 40 per cent of staff who took part had experienced bullying in the last 12 months. It’s a hard review to read. It needs to be said that every ambulance service will, in part, recognise aspects of this report in its own part of the country.

The reality is that the ambulance service has come from a place where it was male dominated, militaristic and command and control all the time. Thankfully, we are a much more inclusive and empowering sector to work in, however, pockets still exist.  It has to be said that this type of behaviour is simply unacceptable and cannot be tolerated. We accept that managers occasionally need to manage, including performance manage, however, we expect our leaders to lead every day.

This is one of the reasons why I commissioned the cultural audit and why the Trust introduced the vision,values and associated behaviours we have today. In my time with EEAST, I have seen significant progress on our cultural journey which is increasingly a positive and encouraging environment to be around. We’ve introduced our leadership and wellbeing strategies and seen groups such as All Women in EEAST (AWE) set up to better support staff. Command and control also has its place, particularly in times of major emergency or crises. We will continue to improve our culture, but we have already made some great headway.

Last week, our new and improved Chelmsford hub was officially opened by local dignitaries, marking the culmination of a lot of hard work by many people. Thank you to everyone who either attended or was involved in making this day happen.

The celebrations at Chelmsford continue as Essex Paramedic Esther Shawe received a staff commendation award from Deputy Director Karl Edwards, to highlight her work, both in and out of the Trust. Well done Esther.

The opening was also a very special occasion for Community First Responder, Chris Flack. For 13 years, Chris has been attending medical emergencies and helping patients in his home village. But a couple of months ago, Chris needed our help when he started experiencing chest pain and breathlessness. At the Chelmsford station opening, Chris was reunited with the life-saving team who looked after him and praised all of them for doing an outstanding job. I was incredibly proud to hear what happened and say well done to all of you for the hard work you do every day.

Finally, Emergency Medical Technician Martin Grove and his fellow emergency services colleagues have completed their 110Km trek through the Arctic Circle. The team encountered sub-Arctic conditions and lived off freeze dried food to raise money for Suffolk Accident and Rescue Service. Congratulations to you all, this is such an amazing achievement to hear.

Have a great week,


Published 17th August, 2017

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