Thursday 23rd September - Leadership message from Tom Abell, Chief Executive

Tom Abell in front of an ambulance

I wanted to start by acknowledging the pressure we are all under and the impact it is having. The questions we received as part of last week’s We are EEAST briefing made it really clear just how tough things are, thank you for taking the time to tell us how you are feeling as this helps to ensure we put that much needed support in place.

Many of the questions and comments we received, were based around issues which can be traced back to the ongoing pressures on our services and the overriding need to protect our sickest patients.

At the present time, resourcing our call handing capability is our biggest area of challenge and risk for us as a Trust. With this in mind, we are really focusing our efforts in recruiting into these roles. Across the Trust, we are working hard on getting a new winter plan in place to put us in a better position to manage these kinds of challenges as we move forward.

Sadly, the continued pressures have also meant making changes to the ECS training and at times of extreme pressure having to temporarily pause the end of shift pilot. I know these moves will potentially have had a negative impact on the quality of your working life. Please rest assured, that we do not take these decisions lightly and as soon as possible we will look to reinstate them both.

These demands are not just being felt here at EEAST. Across the country, our colleagues throughout the NHS are working tirelessly to provide the high standards of care in which we all take such pride. We are working with our acute and emergency care partners to look at how we treat acutely sick people more effectively and move them through the emergency departments more quickly.

So, the challenges continue, but I am so pleased that you feel able to share your questions, concerns, complaints and challenges with us. To me, it signals not only that you really care about delivering a good service but that you also care about looking after yourselves and your colleagues. This is vitally important, especially when we’re all feeling up against it.

I’m delighted to tell you, that we will shortly be inviting nominations for our annual staff recognition awards as well as sharing our plans for the long service awards. This will be the first event of this kind since the pandemic and we want to ensure that, for all of you, it really recognises those teams and individuals who are making a difference to your lives day in, day out. We would also like the event to commemorate those colleagues we have lost and take the time to celebrate their lives and the impact they had as members of our team. Please keep an eye out for the announcement and do get involved, let’s make this an event to remember.

As a small token of our thanks for all you have done during the pandemic and everything you are continuing to do we have sent all our people – paid staff and volunteers – a thank you badge and card. I hope these go some way to recognising everything that you are doing.

We can’t do any of this without you. Please keep safe.

Tom Abell
Chief Executive

Published 23rd September 2021