We Are EEAST Briefing Thursday 8th April


This week's We Are EEAST Briefing comes from our Interim CEO, Dr Tom Davis.

One of the things I want to focus on today is very relevant given the discussions the government led with yesterday and that’s how we continue as we come into a different phase of the pandemic to make sure that we’re thinking about all the basics that we’ve been doing so well throughout the pandemic in keeping ourselves, our colleagues, our friends, family and our patients safe. We know that from an ambulance sector perspective in particular the lifting of the restrictions nationally will create potential for our workload and demand to go up. We also know that there is a risk given the public health data that these social gatherings will create a potential next wave of the pandemic. We must stay vigilant, and we must continue to do all the things that we have been doing so well with.

There’s five areas that I’ve been working very closely with all the senior leadership team on in keeping ourselves, our patients, colleagues and friends safe.

Firstly, are our vaccinations. We have done fantastic as an organisation in over 95% of the organisation having the first vaccine. We are well into the second set of vaccinations and obviously that’s really relevant with the information coming out of the government yesterday. I would encourage people to speak to each other, speak to their line managers, we have distributed some information out of yesterdays briefing to our management teams, so if it has raised questions, please do ask them. The guidance still tells us that as health care professionals, where we ourselves are at risk and our patients are at risk, there is still a greater benefit from having a second AstraZeneca dose than there would be a small risk of this very rare complication, if indeed it is directly linked to the vaccination. Please do make sure that if you’ve got questions or concerns that you are asking those questions and that we are trying to find the answers for you, those answers should also be available to you on the government website. It is really important that we continue with the positive effort of protecting ourselves through vaccination.

Secondly, please keep a focus on being covid secure in your workplace, whether that’s patient facing or in staff areas. Making sure we are keeping social distancing where possible, wearing masks, wiping surfaces and keeping the right level of PPE, which is absolutely down to the discretion of the individual clinicians but making sure we continue to protect ourselves and our patients despite the great uptake of vaccinations. And that is also really important and relevant to lateral flow tests. We know that the lateral flow tests are picking people up who are asymptomatic, and they would otherwise be potentially spreading the virus and therefore it’s really important that we, as an organisation, individually and collectively, continue to focus on using the lateral flow testing and being compliant with the twice weekly testing. If you haven’t managed to pick up a box, please do, if you’re unsure what the rationale of using it is, then please speak to your peers and your colleagues and we will obviously support any questions that we haven’t thought of. Last but not least in anyway, I’ve just been on an AACE council meeting where we have had some presentations from TASC, the ambulance service charity, around support for people from a wellbeing and mental health perspective in particular. There are lots of resources available internally and externally, please do take advantage of those to support yourselves, your friends and colleagues.

So, we do need to keep a focus, as I’ve said, despite the falling levels of covid, we know there are risks on the horizon. Please do take a read on the website of what I’ve gone through just now and focus on continuing to keep each other as safe as possible.

I just want to talk about the culture work, the work continues, every day, every hour to improve our cultures especially around the behaviours as highlighted by the CQC report and our own harassment survey and backed up by the staff survey, which I know we talked about a couple of weeks ago. We’ve said all along that one case of poor behaviour is one too many and so the conversations that I’m having with the senior leadership teams and in accountability is ‘we don’t need to wait for more surveys or more questions. One case of poor behaviour is one too many’. I think what I’m also discussing is that human nature is key as we know to culture and behaviour. Human nature wise it is really easy to feel blamed by a challenge around culture and behaviour and so what we need to do is make sure that we’re supporting people. Most people are not the perpetrators of these behaviours it is a minority but the people that we want to hear from more and more are the bystanders, so those us that may not be on the end of this behaviour directly, we may not be perpetrating this behaviour, but we absolutely can speak up and speak out about the behaviour and be part of the change. So that is one of the key areas that I’ve been speaking to the accountability forums and the senior leadership teams about.

Published 14th April 2021