What you really need to know - Hot topics

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Following our communication yesterday we know there are some talking points amongst staff.

As promised, we want to give you the facts, quickly and honestly, about the things that are most important to you.

Here are some of the things we’re hearing that you may want to know what the current situation is:


Late finishes and meal breaks

The Trust has been working with UNISON for months about late finishes and missed meal breaks and we recognise the impact this issue has on staff. Initiatives have been trialled but ultimately we know, as do our staff, that funding to provide more frontline staff is the one thing that will allow us to improve the situation. 

However, we would like to continue to work with UNISON to develop initiatives further, including ways to help staff get off shift on time and get their breaks. The Trust needs UNISON to compromise and accept that we cannot introduce initiatives that have the potential to impact on patient safety – and we don’t think our staff would want us to do that either.



We will have to move some people from RRV’s as we will have many fewer cars in future in favour of ambulance cover. This is not an overnight change, but one that has to be balanced with the context of patient safety across winter, increased funded capacity to achieve the total changes and working through the right change management process for staff. We have already achieved some of this through voluntary arrangements and ending of secondments.

There will need to be rota changes made over time. We will work with staff to develop new rota patterns in consultation with them and supported by experts to achieve the best possible outcomes for staff and patients.

Each staff member will be consulted with if there are any changes to their vehicle.

No staff who are permanently rostered onto RRVs will be asked to change those lines for permanent ambulance lines until we have agreed the change management process and gone through the right consultation with staff affected.

The Trust met with UNISON on 9th October to discuss how to approach the change management process and aid early communication with affected staff. The Trust is now actively trying to meet with UNISON again to move this forward and a further date has been offered to UNISON to meet in December. No one has been required to move off a line who is contracted to work on it.


Lease cars

We are seeking to establish an updated business travel policy: one that reduces our spend on lease cars but gives those entitled to a lease car the right vehicle for their role. The current policy was agreed with UNISON and the previous Chief Executive Officer. We have involved UNISON throughout this policy review.

To be clear, our managers have done nothing outside the agreed Trust policy, so it is unacceptable that colleagues using lease cars continue to be targeted individually – let us please respect one another.


Munro jackets

We are willing to consider new uniform and have asked UNISON to work with us on this via the Health and Safety Group.

EEAST is committed to the procurement of a single national uniform specification through a national framework which is focused on achieving best value for money. Therefore, some weeks ago, we informed UNISON that we would be pleased to support a proposal for the replacement of existing jackets with Munro jackets, to put forward to the national ambulance procurement group. If ambulance trusts in the national framework agree to adopt this change to the national uniform specification, then EEAST will be in a position to adopt these jackets as part of our uniform replacement process.


As we mentioned yesterday, ensuring our staff have the facts is important to us and your ongoing support is appreciated.

We’ll continue to keep you informed of developments as and when we can, but please, if there is something you want to know that hasn’t been covered or your manager can’t answer, please email feedback@eastamb.nhs.uk

 Thank you,

 The EEAST leadership

Published 23rd November, 2017



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