Update from Dr Anthony Marsh

Long Service with CEO OPT

This week has been one of celebrating our staff and volunteers – on Thursday I attended the Ambulance Service Institute (ASI) awards at the House of Lords where Paul Gibson, a paramedic from Ipswich, won the Paramedic/Emergency Care Practitioner award and on Friday we commemorated long service and excellence at the annual Trust awards in Cambridgeshire. Both events were excellent and Friday in particular was a fantastic opportunity to highlight the amazing work you do in front of dignitaries from across the east of England, including MPs and other emergency service colleagues. You impressed them all and made me immensely proud, so thank you.

I have recently been answering questions on the emergency care assistant (ECAs) to technician pathway and wanted to reiterate the Trust’s plans. I know that some of you are disappointed that you will have to wait to progress on the pathway but we cannot release all of you to do your training at once. We will train 60 ECAs who have passed their pre-entry exam every year until you are all technicians. I wish we could do it sooner but we have about 500 ECAs which make up around 25% of our frontline service and to compound this further we have hundreds of paramedic vacancies, so we obviously cannot abstract you all at the same time as this would impact on our patients.

We will get there though and have already made good progress but it will take time. It has been one of my main priorities to upskill our ECAs and technicians since I took up this post in January and improving the skill mix of our staff is essential to provide a better service to patients and I am very pleased with the progress we have already made. We have completed the first ECA – technician course and the second one is underway, technicians have started their courses to progress onto paramedics, we are recruiting graduate paramedics and our huge student paramedic programme has begun – we have now made more than 170 offers to new recruits and the first two cohorts of students are in training already.

In a week where the importance of recognising our staff has been at the forefront, please be assured that I am committed to giving you the opportunity to progress where you can. The job of the ambulance service is often very difficult so it is crucial that we have staff who are happy and feel supported. As always, please feel free to email me if you have any questions and I will help and advise you as best I can.


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