We Are EEAST Briefing - Thursday 13th May 2021


This week's We Are EEAST Briefing comes from our Interim CEO, Dr Tom Davis, and our new Interim Director of Workforce, Bob Champion.

Good afternoon and thank you everyone for joining me this afternoon on the Exec Q&A. My name is Tom Davis, I’m the Interim Chief Executive, and it’s great to be with you here again today. As with all of these, this is as much for me to hear from you, so please do use the Q&A box and I will try and answer as many questions as I can in the space of time I have today. Equally, if I can’t give you an answer or you want to raise a question outside of this forum then please do contact me through the OCE EEAST email.

So, another busy week in the world of EEAST, but also in the world in general as we look towards another release of the lockdown. We are seeing an increase in demand across health in the region, but also across the country, and we’re seeing about a 10% increase in the demand on our services. I’m sure many of you are experiencing that in your day-to-day interactions with the organisation and we will wait to see whether the next release changes that, as we did throughout the pandemic, the operational teams are working tirelessly to dynamically react to the changes in demand of the system, and make sure that we keep our patients safe.

We’ve published, as you will find on Need to Know, the Monthly Performance Dashboard, which gives you a taster of the demand that the organisation deals with over the monthly period.

I’d like to thank everyone for what they are doing to manage that demand and the changes in circumstances that we are seeing. But also, for the continued focus that you give on keeping yourselves and your patients safe. We’ve had a fantastic uptake of the second vaccine dose, the same as we did with the first. It’s fantastic to report that we are in the top 20 Trusts in the country for vaccine uptake, and that clearly keeps our patients, colleagues and families safe. As always, please do not forget the Covid secure measures, your lateral flow tests and all the other measures that we need to continue taking despite the pandemic numbers decreasing and despite the country’s lockdown coming to the next stage of release.

Just on further progress before I introduce you to Bob Champion, our new Interim Director of Workforce. Last week we attended our regular scrutiny meeting with the regional regulatory team and the CQC and progress was noted to be ongoing, and we’re moving from a more transactional phase into a more strategic phase, where we will look to embed and sustain the changes that are occurring.

We shared, again on Need to Know, our latest CQC action plan. The important areas this month that are highlighted are the private ambulance service and the HR Governance processes. Please do take a look at the infographics, they tell you what we’ve done and what this means, and hopefully gives our organisation, as well as our regulators, confidence that we are moving things in a positive direction.

So, I’ll pause there waiting for any questions to come through and introduce you to Bob, who I will pass you over to introduce himself and to talk a bit more about people and some of the changes that people are interested to hear about as we go into next week’s lifting of the next stage of lockdown. So, over to you Bob.

Thank you Tom, hi everybody, I’m Bob Champion, Interim Director of Workforce and this is week five of my tenure in post, so I am delighted to be here.

From a people perspective, on Monday the Prime minister announced that the next stage of the governments road map will go ahead as planned and so from next Monday, 17th May, further restrictions will be lifted as you’re probably well aware. Please do check the www.gov.uk website for the latest guidance on what you can and what you can’t do. It will also include an updated guidance on what to do about travelling abroad, or not as the case may be. So, for people who may be planning to book holidays, that will be particularly pertinent to them.

Covid-19 does remain a real risk to all of us as Tom has alluded to, and to keep the infection rate and risk low we must continue to follow all of the guidance. So as far as respecting distancing rules and access to accommodation rules as well, we need to make sure we continue as previously. Continue to test as well as if you’ve had both vaccines, I’ve had both my vaccines now as well, so I feel privileged and well up to date. We have got some extra Covid secure training dates available, and all the latest guidance to that is available on Need to Know.

On a very positive note, the staff network for All Women in EEAST network was relaunched last week and more information and a very well-produced video relating to the women’s network is available on Need to Know as well.

Finally, from me, a reminder that Mental Health Week is this week, and we have a lot of support available to staff in relation to their mental health and wellbeing, and do read more on Need to Know about how you can access services including our Employee Assistance Programme and Crisis Intervention Helplines.

Thank you.

Fantastic, and thank you Bob for hitting the ground running since joining us over the last five weeks. So, I’m just looking at the chat and there are no questions come through as yet, so I’ll wait for a few minutes and see whether anyone has any questions.

But I think what Bob mentioned is really key as we move forward, so the organisation is doing a piece of work looking at guidance for our managers based on the national guidance with regards to return to work, travel, and flexible working options post Covid. I think it’s really important that we remember that the pandemic and Covid numbers are low, but not yet extinguished, and as we know from looking around the world, it’s very easy for the pandemic to flare up again as countries release their people back into the communities.

Clearly as a healthcare providing organisation, we need to absolutely sure that we are doing the right thing to keep our staff and therefore our patients safe. So, please do not rush back to work if you are working from home. Please do have those conversations with your managers, your managers will be provided with guidance in addition to the national guidance, and we will make sure as people are able to, they return to their offices safely, and do so in a way that ensures that the organisation won’t be dealing with a flare of Covid numbers, ensuring that people will remain safe, both staff, colleagues and patients.

So, yes it would be easy for us all to revert to normal, it’s very understandable why people want to do that, but as I’ve said before, the vaccinations are fantastic, we cannot be more proud of the organisation for what we’ve done with vaccinations. The same goes for lateral flow testing, please do get yourself a Lateral Flow Test if you haven’t got one. Please do continue doing them even if you’ve been vaccinated. Please make sure that you are testing regularly and following the guidance, that you continue to keep the Covid secure things that you have at your office space in place, and that you don’t rush back to an open space without that conversation with your line managers.

So, in the absence of any further questions, or any questions today, and please do feel free to raise questions outside of this forum. This is one of a number of forum’s where I hope people feel they have access to the senior teams, and as lockdown eases and we do those risk assessments, I do hope to start to see people in a face-to-face forum. But again, only when the risk to my colleagues, to my staff and my patients is at the minimal that it can be.

But in the absence of any questions coming through, I wish everyone a good rest of the day, thank you for listening, please do share this recording online, and to those listening back, whilst you’ve not been able to ask questions in live time, please do remember you can reach out at any point.

Please do stay safe, please do keep doing what you’re doing to keep our colleagues, our patients, and the system moving. I absolutely recognise, and I’ve said before, without the hard work of the organisation my job would be more difficult than it is, and I would like to thank everyone on a personal level for that. So, please do look after yourselves, look after each other and stay safe.

Take care.

Published 17th May 2021

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