We Are EEAST Briefing 25th March 2021


This We Are EEAST Briefing comes from our Acting CEO, Dr Tom Davis.

So, it’s been a year now, as we’ve been hearing in the national news, since this country went in to it’s first lockdown, and on Tuesday I know that many of us spent a minute at midday and lit candles in the evening to remember those that have lost their lives in the pandemic both I’m sure we all know people in our private lives as well as in our professional lives, and of course as an organisation we have tragically lost five members of staff and we spend time remembering them, and their families and their colleagues.

It’s been a time to reflect, and there have been lots of positives, and we’ve continued to deliver safe and responsive service to our patients in the region. We continue to support the systems both in the region and outside of the region in responding to both the pandemic and the challenges we would normally face in any year.

As we come into the next phase we will see, as we know, restrictions being lifted, we will see an end to shielding, and we need to be very clear and make sure that we support our staff who are shielding. We are not expecting staff who are shielding to immediately return on the 1st of April. Whilst it is a date in the lifting of the restrictions, we absolutely owe it to our most vulnerable staff to make sure that we continue to support them, review the risk assessments, and ensure that if they are returning to work, that they are doing so in a safe and supported environment.

The national teams are currently completing their guidance and we will continue to work at a national level and then internally in the organisation, to ensure that the guidance is distributed amongst our management teams and our shielded staff and our most vulnerable staff are supported in that decision.

We want everyone to feel that they have had the opportunity to be re-risk assessed, and where appropriate, allowed to complete mandatory training and a phased return to work if they have been out of the area that they would normally work in for a long period of time.

So, over then next days to weeks we will see some guidance coming out to management teams, and please, if you are shielding, there is a plan, we want to support you, but we don’t expect you to feel you have to come back immediately into the workplace until you have had that risk assessment.

Our culture work continues, it’s continued throughout the pandemic and the winter. If you go to Need to Know you will see an infographic which will show the most recent activity. This includes the activities that are going on to tackle the long-standing unacceptable behaviour, ongoing support for our managers and updated training and policies.

I do encourage us all please to read the summary. Staff have taken the time to speak up, colleagues have taken the time to speak out, and it’s important that we both demonstrate that we’re listening and acting on what we’re hearing, and it’s important that the organisation see’s what actions are underway.

Before I answer the questions that are coming in, we’ve had lots of developments in the way that we use a just culture in approaching incidents and complaints. We’ve had a lot of positive feedback for the new round table just culture approach that the patient safety and clinical teams have been taking to serious incidents and complaints, and next week we will roll this process out further and it will start to include incidents and complains that may not reach the serious incident threshold but would benefit from a just culture round table approach.

This is a big change, it’s focused on individuals and teams, and giving them time to reflect both on what went well, and what lessons can be learnt and moved forward. The feedback, as I say, has been really positive, and so I hope that as this gains traction and we look at using this process to deal with more and more issues, it will continue to grow and be seen as a positive.