Update from CEO Robert Morton

Robert left side in cab smiling   web

My thoughts and condolences have been with the loved ones of the Orlando attack victims this week, as well as the 911 and volunteer medical agencies that no doubt faced a truly overwhelming and terrifying scene. It is a sad situation we find ourselves in where we have to prepare ourselves for such atrocities, but it brings home why we invest so much time and effort into training exercises and our resilience.

I got to see a demo of some pre-hospital ultrasound equipment being used this week, which was really interesting. Some healthcare organisations, like our air ambulance colleagues, are already using equipment like this to great benefit for patients. Ultrasound is exceptionally useful for trauma patients as it can help to identify internal bleeding in the abdomen and chest, particularly around the heart and the lungs. The equipment itself is becoming increasingly more portable and affordable, and I’d like to hope that one day we’ll also be able to use it to advance the care we can give people in the pre-hospital environment.

I’ve also been looking at FOAMed, or ‘free open access medical education’, which is a concept that provides medical education for anyone, anywhere, anytime across the globe. It’s essentially an ever evolving package of medical education resources that are shared on the web, whether that be via blogs, podcasts, tweets, online videos, documents, photos or Facebook groups. You can explore it very easily on Twitter using #FOAMed – I’d recommend you take a look as there’s some really thought-provoking discussion going on.

All of these things help to move us forward clinically and as an organisation in general; although we have some big ticket items to tackle at the moment, like demand and capacity, it shouldn’t mean we stop trying to better what we do and develop in other areas. Fleet is a great example of this, where the team are currently developing a series of new concept vehicles – watch this space for more information on that soon. I hope exciting projects like this continue to happen across the Trust.

I’ve met with some of our Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire duty locality officers (DLOs) this week, where we talked about how we could influence social behaviour and the use of 999 if first aid training was a stable activity in schools – something I know many of you are very passionate about. It was also good to hear their views on our proposed new operating model, which should help tackle some of our capacity challenges.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, we’re continuing with some short term measures to try and bridge that gap, like using private ambulance services (PAS), and I’d like to thank Alan Whitehead and Steve Catley in particularly who have been working exceptionally hard to accredit a number of PAS providers. I also want to mention Duncan Freeman and our procurement team, who have delivered excellent results in procuring additional capacity. This additional capacity has been critically important over the last two weeks in protecting our ability to support student paramedic abstraction to university; to put it into perspective, we have seen weeks where we have had in excess of 5,000 student hours removed from our operational capacity to allow colleagues to attend their university courses.

And lastly, a well done and thank you to the some 30 colleagues at Waveney who have taken on the Running Man Challenge and published their video online to the tune of 26,000 views. The team have used it to raise awareness and funds for Ollie’s Heroes, a cancer charity set up by Senior Paramedic Jamie Gray that helps people with the costs of living and travelling to hospital and also provides vital support for families across the area. Jamie established the charity in memory of his son Ollie, who tragically passed away in September after a five-year battle with leukaemia . Jamie and team – well done. We are all absolutely behind you to help raise as much as we can. You can view the video on our Facebook page, and learn more about Ollie’s Heroes here.

Have a good week,


Published 16th June, 2016

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