Update from CEO Robert Morton, 26th May

Robert left side in cab smiling   web

I was very proud to sign our Time to Change employer pledge, along with Chair Sarah Boulton, at yesterday’s Trust Board meeting. The pledge is our commitment to increasing awareness, improving our services and challenging stigma when it comes to mental health here at EEAST. Mental health isn’t a topic to be shied away from – it affects one in four of us and we know that in blue light services that number is often even higher. My thanks go to Health and Wellbeing Manager Debra Winterson and her team for helping make this happen. The next step will be flesh out exactly what we’re going to deliver, in addition to what we already have in place, to better support you when it comes to mental health.

I’ve managed to get some face-to-face time in with a lot of colleagues over the last week, particularly our manager groups. Thank you to the senior locality, community partnership, patient transport services and EOC managers, as well as the duty locality officers (DLOs) in Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk, for your time. We were mainly talking about three things: the future direction of the Trust and our new operating model, job roles and responsibilities, and leadership development. As always, it was good to get your views.

Leadership development itself seems to be a hot topic at the moment, and rightly so. We’re doing a lot of work in house on this already, and I look forward to seeing more about the tri-service leadership programme that we’re looking at with the Essex Fire and Rescue Service in particular. Whatever we do and build on, we have to make sure that our managers and leaders are given the training and skills to actually lead – and lead well.

You’ll no doubt be aware that leadership development was also raised through the initial feedback we had from our Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection. Although we’re waiting for the first draft of the report to be shared with us, it’s noteworthy for us to reflect on East Midlands Ambulance Service’s CQC report, which was published earlier this month. As a fellow ambulance service, there is clearly an opportunity for us to learn here, and lessons for us to reflect on. Just one of the reasons why it’s so important we continue to engage with our managers and develop our leaders.

Negotiations also continue with our commissioners for the funding we need to help us meet the public and regulatory expectations of our service. Once those discussions are complete we will move onto ‘phase two’, where we’ll be talking about securing investment for the clinical hub and new operating model we want to move to. All of this is about us becoming a more clinically focused organisation, and I hope will help us gain support for the long-term goal of seeing performance targets changed to ones that are more clinically focused as well. I met with Ben Gummer MP last week, who is the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Quality at the Department of Health, to talk about the quality agenda and the importance of supporting the capacity expansion of the ambulance service. It was a very positive meeting and I hope we will be able to touch base again soon.

Now we’re well and truly into the summer months, thankfully (and eventually) we are starting to see a very slight reduction in activity, and a modest improvement in handover delays at some hospitals. Feedback from colleagues in some areas is that they are starting to feel an ease of that relentless pressure that everyone has been under. I hope everyone gets an opportunity across the summer months to get some respite before, dare I say it, we face the inevitability of another winter.

I’m pleased to report that our Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Essex co-responding schemes with the fire service are up and running, with the other county services following soon. The scheme only covers cardiac arrests, and it is fantastic to hear that the Essex fire service teams have helped us to get two ROSCs on patients since it went live earlier this month. Any joint working like this, that ultimately is helping us to better patients’ lives, is something to celebrate.

With the Longwater team’s Running Man Challenge video now topping some 18,000 views, I hear that our Waveney crews are going to be giving them a run for their money (no pun intended) and filming their own next week. It seems the EEAST team is never one to resist a challenge! I don’t think I’ll be donning my dancing shoes just yet, but I look forward to seeing the latest effort.

Have a good week.


Published 26th May, 2016

Leave a Comment
Name (required)
Email Address (required, never displayed)
Enter a message

(all comments are moderated - your submission will be posted on approval.)