We Are EEAST Briefing 14th January 2021

WeAreEEAST Briefing, Thursday 14th January with Juliet Beal, Director of Nursing and Kevin Smith Director of Finance.

Good afternoon everybody, this is one of our Exec Q&A’s and I’m delighted to be here with you today. If you haven’t met me yet, I’m Juliet Beale and I’m the Interim Director of Nursing for Clinical Quality and Improvement, and I also have Kevin Smith here with me today who is the Finance Director.

Ok, so I just want to start off by saying that at the Board meeting, which was held yesterday, staff were publicly thanked for the dedication that people have shown through this very difficult time of working during a pandemic, and I would also like to say a big thank you to everyone. I’ve been here now for two months and been really impressed by the care and compassion which is shown by EEAST staff, and there was a there was a very heartfelt thank you from Board members and Non-Exec Directors.

It is incredibly difficult to keep up with news during the demanding times, and I would ask you all to continue to look after yourselves, ensure you get your breaks and some downtime while we’re facing this extremely difficult time. I know some people are working long extra hours, thank you for that, and please look after yourselves, take care and make sure you get some time off.

Secondly, the Board also looked at and spoke about the CQC plan. CQC plan we are still working very hard to deliver, we are making very good progress, and recently had a good overview and assurance group meeting with CQC and Stakeholders. There is still much to do but there has been very good progress. We are being asked about how we’re now embedding the CQC actions into everyday practice.

So, just to give you an example, so when we get a complaint in, as well as answering the complaint, we are being asked to say what we have learnt from that and how we can demonstrate that is changed practice, and that is the same for all our CQC requirements. Both managing the very difficult times we’re in with the pandemic and also managing our CQC action plans are all about improving our patient care.

You will be aware that the Covid awareness is being updated within the Need to Know. Please take some time to read the Need to Know, but just a few things about Covid awareness. You will, I hope, by now have met some of our Covid marshals who are looking at auditing all the areas across the whole of the Trust to make sure that people are working in a safe environment and that people are Covid compliant.

You will also know that we have had an improvement notice from the HSC around Covid compliance and I would ask you to be extremely vigilant, and to continue also to be vigilant about wearing PPE. Not only clinically, but also when you’re in rest rooms and rest areas it’s really important that we keep everybody safe.

I’m going to talk a little bit about the vaccination programme. So, the vaccination programme has been extremely fast moving. We started the internal vaccination programme on Monday. We have also been working very closely with hospital sites across the whole of the East of England to ensure that EEAST staff can access hospital sites for their vaccination.

It is really important that you book before you go, and the reason you need to book is to ensure that the environment where you go for your vaccine is Covid safe. You can book vaccinations both within EEAST and within the hospital sites, through the EEAST intranet. So please go on the intranet and have a look. It’s not as easy to find at the moment and I’m just doing some work with comms to make sure that we can… that you will be able to find how to book a vaccination much more easily. But if you do go on under the intranet in to the Covid section and scroll right down to vaccinations you’ll be able to see where you can book your vaccine.

The vaccination team has been working extremely hard to ensure that every member of staff will be offered a vaccine, and we have been asked by NHS England to make sure that all staff have been vaccinated by the end of January. It has been a very fast-moving programme, but the vaccination programme is now open to all staff, and all staff should be able to book. If you have any problems at all please get hold of the vaccination team or drop an email to myself and we’ll make sure that you get slotted in to get your vaccinations.

We have currently vaccinated about 1400 members of staff, and I think that is just absolutely phenomenal. But we need to keep going, we’ve got a lot to do, so I please ask be patient with us, but also make sure you get your vaccines booked in. We have been asking staff if at all possible to book their vaccine when they will have a rest day the following day. We are getting about 10% of staff who are having some kind of reaction the vaccine so please be mindful of that. Most people are absolutely fine, but some people are finding they are getting a reaction which just lasts a couple of days, and there is very good information on what to do if that happens and that will be given to you at the time of the vaccine.

The other thing I wanted to talk to you about is the recent staff harassment survey. So, you will know that we had a recent staff harassment survey, you will also know that we had a lot of replies and I thank you to all of you who took the time to respond to that survey. Any episode of harassment or bullying is one episode too many. So, the very clear message that I want to say to you today is you are receive bullying or harassment please speak out, and if you are bullying or harassing people please stop.

It is really important that we can all come to work and be valued and work in an environment where we feel safe and we feel listened too, and we feel that we are cared for in the workplace. We are all working extremely hard in the current environment and of course being tired does impact on people, and again I would ask please look after yourselves, please make sure you get some rest periods and down time. And if you see a colleague who is struggling, please just talk to them gently and see if you can help or support in any way. We all need to support and help each other in these difficult times. I also want to assure you that myself and the clinical team are here to support you, we know for those of you who are front line workers, it is a really difficult time, please let us know what we can do to support.

Thank you very much for listening to me and I’m now going to pass over to Kevin.

Thank you Julia, good afternoon everyone, and for those of you who don’t know me, I’m Kevin Smith, I’m Director of Finance and Commissioning here at the Trust.

I just wanted to pick up to start with around our Trust performance and what we’re doing to keep our patients safe. So, I think suffice to say, we’ve all seen incredible amounts of activity and we know how busy everybody is from call takers through our front-line crews through everybody that supports them. I think it’s fair to say that whilst we’re not complacent, we are currently providing a really robust response and safe service for our patients.

I know there have been some horrendous patient experiences, being on call you can often see ambulances having to wait for considerable lengths of time outside hospitals, and obviously for the patients in the back of those ambulances it is not the best experience, but of course our crews are very caring of those patients that are there. And of course, it is not a great experience for our staff as they just want to get back out and look after the next person in the community that’s needed. But I think we have learnt a lot as an organisation from the experiences during the first wave, and we’ve done additional planning and escalation of issues that we need to get addressed. I think we have to recognise just how much pressure the system is under, and how difficult it for the system. But we have been recognised as playing a really central part in the regional, and the national health system, and how proactive we’ve been in trying to help other partners in the system and to keep things moving.

Many of you will have participated in the mutual aid that we have provided to other Ambulance services, in particular to London and the pressures that they have been under. But we have also been involved in other areas and of course we are supporting our acute colleagues and know that some of our acutes are in real dyer conditions and we’ve looked at some really novel ways at trying to help out with that.

So that you for everybody involved in that and it has been a fantastic piece of work. We’ve actually been very close to achieving national standards on a number of our days, and whilst that doesn’t necessarily feel important to everybody, it is a measure of how well we are doing. But certainly, as I say, the focus… I know from my on-call sessions is particularly on patient safety and areas such as the Hear and Treat that we provide, have really ensured that we are keeping our patients as safe as possible. I think, as I say, we have been recognised by regional NHS leaders in just what a great service we have provided and continue to provide.

So that is the main area I want to comment on. I think the other thing just to say, and Juliet touched on the cultural work that is going on, but in the wider CQC action plan, next weeks message is going to include some updates on progress of that, so we’ll have some further information then.

Published 18th January 2021