You make a difference: update from CEO Robert Morton, 8th December

Robert left side in cab smiling   web

Well, it feels like we’re well into winter now and the countdown to Christmas has officially begun. Although it’s set to turn mild again for the tail end of the week, we saw our first Met Office weather warning for the winter season on Monday evening with freezing fog descending over the region. But whilst the rest of the country starts to wind down ahead of the festive season, life as always continues on (and often gets busier) in the ambulance service.

The BBC got a flavour of that last week as it ran its ‘Day in the life of the ambulance service’ feature. We were heavily involved in the national coverage and some of you will have seen BBC reporters out and about on ambulances and in EOCs before and on the day. I personally thought it provided some good insight for the public into what we are doing as a service to improve patient experience - and the demand on everyone working at the Trust. Thank you to everyone who took part, your professionalism shone through and you really presented EEAST and our people in a very positive light.

One of the hot topics the BBC inevitably picked up on was hospital handover delays. At the end of last week we shared some cohorting guidance with you that’s one of the steps we’re taking to try and reduce the impact on Red patients in particular. We will continue to work with hospital colleagues to find solutions, but in the meantime we absolutely have to take steps to safeguard patients in the community who are left waiting for an ambulance for too long. We’re losing the equivalent of more than 100 full shifts worth of hours every week to these delays and that’s not something we can sustain – we must make sure our patients are put first.

I know the Trust is asking a lot of everyone at the moment, and the results from our recent culture audit do highlight the impact relentless workload can have on all of us; if you haven’t yet done so, you can take a look at the summary results here and give us feedback on what you think. Whether you work in emergency or non-emergency patient-facing teams, EOC, or support services, I know that you’re having to go above and beyond to make things happen. Despite the busyness though, you all continue to help us deliver outstanding patient care, and on behalf of the Trust, I thank you all.

And we’re still seeing some fantastic achievements: Navrita Atwal, Equality Diversity and Inclusion Lead, and Tara Rose, Internal Communications Manager were winner and finalist respectively at the recent NHS East of England Leadership Awards, and the Communications Team was shortlisted for three national communications awards, showing what an incredible contribution support services make to the NHS; we met with representatives of the International Academy of Emergency Dispatch this week to talk about securing accreditation for our EOCs as an Accredited Centre of Excellence – which is justifiable recognition of the excellent work of our EOC teams; we discussed some triage changes we would like to see that would reduce Red activity, and the Academy is committed to addressing the ‘not alert’ question in the triage process ASAP; our brand new e-learning portal, LearnZone, was launched last week, which will bring all kinds of training and development opportunities to our fingertips; the clinical app is well underway and has received great feedback; and we’ve delved into the world of clinical podcasts, which you can download and listen to via East24, thanks to efforts from Area Clinical Lead Ash Richardson; these online developments in particular are important building blocks as we move towards a future, personal issue, tablet-based platform for ePCR, e-learning, and clinical information.

It’s sometimes not said often enough – but thank you. It might feel overwhelming at times, but everything we’re doing is making a difference to patients who need our help. Last week we had the pleasure of reuniting one of our younger patients with her life savers, Stephen Cutler, Jonathan Brownett and John Caballero, after she contracted meningitis and was given just a 20% chance of survival. Fortunately, due to the fast and smart reactions of our trio on that fateful day, little Lily will be spending Christmas where she should be - with her family. Just one example of your amazing work and the absolute difference it makes to real people, every day.

Have a good week.


Published 8th December, 2016

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