We Are EEAST Briefing 18th March 2021



This We Are EEAST Briefing comes from Marcus Bailey, Chief Operating Officer and Juliet Beal, Director of Nursing, Clinical Quality and Improvement.

I am going to talk a little bit about what we’re doing around people and some of our compassionate initiatives. As part of an ongoing investment into training and development we’ve commissioned a series of ten-minute skills booster workshops, these videos include things like inclusion, leadership and teamwork. They’re on Evolve, please sign in and undertake them, they’re part of our cultural programme to help us all work in a really great cultural environment and to really help, value and support each other. There’s access 24/7, as you know, to Evolve so please log on, have a look and undertake some of them.

As you know, compassion is absolutely key to our role of providing excellent patient care and there has been a really good, bespoke compassionate project around what we call ‘cuddle pockets’. Cuddle pockets are used to help crews transport babies who have very sadly been lost or stillborn, and they are bespoke little pockets which are specially handknitted by a charity. They enable baby to be held by the parent and for crews to convey baby and parents to hospital in a dignified and compassionate manner.

There’s a really sensitive, good video which you can have a look at and links are on the website so please have a look at that. The team really led a great programme of work. They led all the other ambulance services in this initiative, and I think it’s an absolutely fantastic piece of work. The knitted pockets are for babies of less than 24 weeks and we’ve had feedback from parents saying they really help parents in what is really a very difficult and sad situation, so thank you.

Coming onto our Covid vaccination programme. The programme’s up and running this week again, I’m absolutely delighted to see people coming in and getting their vaccine, so thank you very much. We had a really successful Phase One of the programme, with over 95% of our substantive staff taking up a vaccine. Thank you to all of you, you are making a really big difference to protect yourselves, our patients and your families. Please come in and get your second vaccine and, please again, book on Evolve. There has been lots of talk about shortages of vaccines, please be assured that we have got a good vaccine supply, so come in, get your vaccine, attend the clinics and let’s make sure that everybody gets their second jab. We’ve had over 6,000 staff vaccinated so far and that’s absolutely fantastic, so well done to everybody. Please book on Evolve and come and get your jab.

Thanks very much, I’ll now hand over to Marcus and then I’ll be delighted to take any questions from people.

Thanks Juliet, and I guess from out of some difficult events a good example of learning, sharing and improving our patient experience journey, and importantly it came from the people involved with that incident so really about listening and acting upon what is a very difficult time for parents and also for anyone who attends as well.

The other bit I’ll just pick up on, the Phase Two vaccination, it’s such positive news, really, really good. I’ll just take this opportunity to remind people that we still need to follow a number of the other initiatives in place such as social distancing, Covid-secure handwashing, facemasks and making sure that we’re still using lateral flow testing. The reality is that the vaccinations is a massive step forward in the country and being able to look at an element of what a new normal would look like, but it doesn’t mean Covid is over and therefore we still need to protect ourselves, protect our colleagues, protect our patients and our families. By following all of this together, this gives us the best of being able to manage what is likely to be a difficult summer for us as an organisation, based around people staying on holiday in the UK, as well as we go into winter, but importantly about looking after yourselves at work.

Mentioning about performance, I thank you all and for everybody in the organisation who is doing what they can for our patients, ultimately, we are here to look after our communities and we continue to do that really strongly, the support we’re able to give in terms of our response to patients, our patient access targets. We know that from our latest round of Ambulance Quality Indicators we are giving good quality care in those as well and that is really, really important because it’s been a difficult 18 months actually when you look back as an organisation on performance but again, really, really positive.

The other bit is about where we are with the progress related to special measures and for us in our CQC report. So, there will be a bit more coming out tomorrow in terms of Need to Know, but again we are well on our way to closing the actions associated with the CQC. Now, what does that mean? Well, it means we’re closing a number of our process actions, a number of those things that will mean something important to individuals involved in Employee Relations casework. When we’re closing the actions though we’re not saying it’s done and again, really, really important, this for us is a journey. Closing some of the CQC elements were more around our practical and our process and, I guess, our people components, i.e we’re doing some bits within those. What’s really important is this becomes another journey for us in whole improvement, when you step back. We know that we’ll have some elements from the CQC that we’ll need to review and reflect about, what the next stages mean and we know there’ll be other work and I think that from us, and you’ve heard when I’ve been on with John before, what we’re not saying is that it’s all fixed and all perfect. We absolutely know that there is still work to do, we know we have, for those of you who are speaking up and speaking out which is really, really important, we know that may create more case work and we need to make sure that we are resourcing that and we are learning and that’s really our important focus.

From an executive perspective we’re absolutely still working on those improvement plans and also undertaking the work around that in terms of learning and sharing. I thank those of you who are coming forward and are speaking out and we are starting to see people with some confidence that they can do that, that they can reach out, that we can have conversations, that we are able to, I guess, really start to learn and ultimately a true belief that we do need to change what we can change and for us it’s to support people in that. Look, we are probably at a point where we are learning a lot, and when we start to look back at some of our legacy casework is a time when it may start to feel more uncomfortable for people as we ask some more challenging questions or some of the areas of focus as we move forward as well We can’t shy away from that as a collective, nor should we, because if we are truly going to move us forward then we have to start getting at some of the root causes behind that and that requires us to have those continuous conversations.

I guess a good example of that is if you take a step back and look at the events relating to Sarah Everard and you think about what that means in terms of safety, security, you start to look at what the means in terms of how we support each other, how we keep each other safe. You know, we would encourage people, if you feel unsafe and you need to speak up then please do so. We want everybody who comes to work to feel safe and we want you to feel secure. There are a range of things within that and a range of initiatives that we are looking at but importantly it’s about how we support each other, and if you feel, individually, a concern that you do come forward on that. We will be looking at our lone worker policy, we’ve signed up and will be rolling out a trial of body worn video cameras across the Trust so there’s a range of very practical things that we will be looking at doing as well. But again, using our Freedom To Speak Up, speaking to your line manager, a colleague, just to talk about the concerns and how we work together on those solutions and support you, and for us all to support each other, in the workplace as well.

Published 22nd March 2021