Content originally from East of England Ambulance Service
A welcome from our Chair
Welcome to the latest bulletin for EEAST’s stakeholders and partners. In this edition, we get to know a little more about our new chief executive Tom Abell and provide an update on our latest performance and progress against our Care Quality Commission (CQC) action plan.
As you may already be aware, Ofsted reviewed the training and education we provide for apprentices at the start of June. The inspection found that although improvements have been made following the CQC’s visit in 2020, our students are experiencing poor behaviour and are less able to raise concerns. For this reason, the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has withdrawn some of our education funding. This means that although we will continue to employ apprentices and provide clinical training, our status as an education provider will end.
As a result, education training for apprentices who are employed by EEAST will transfer to another provider. We want every staff member to have a positive experience at EEAST and are working closely with partners to find alternative providers and make sure the transition to them is as seamless as possible. We have also strengthened our safeguarding training and student support, and will be carrying out a detailed review of our education and training provision so that our learners feel well supported while they continue their clinical placements with us.
Elsewhere, we have seen an increase in emergency calls as COVID-19 restrictions have continued to ease. We are reminding the public to use 999 wisely and seek alternatives like NHS 111, GPs, pharmacies and self-care if it isn’t an emergency or life-threatening. This will become increasingly more important now that the remaining social distancing rules have been lifted. At EEAST, protecting our patients and staff remains our priority, so we will not be making any changes to our existing safety measures and will continue to use PPE, test regularly and practice social distancing and good hand hygiene so that we can keep everyone safe.
Thank you and, as always, please do get in touch if I can help further.
Introducing our new chief executive
Tom Abell will join EEAST as our permanent chief executive later this autumn. He has shared some of his goals and aspirations for the Trust with InTouch EEAST before taking up his role next month.
Q: What attracted you to EEAST?
A: The thing that I care most about is making a difference to the communities we serve. There’s a lot of opportunity in this role to do that for our people and everyone who lives in the East of England. I aim to work with our people, stakeholders and partners to develop and improve the service we provide, a big part of which will be through creating a better environment for our people.
Q: What are you most looking forward to about your new role?
A: I’m looking forward to seeing more of the great work the teams do and meeting our communities so that I can understand more about the practical steps we can take to better meet their needs and make a difference.
Q: What are your immediate priorities for your first few months in post?
A: Making sure our people have the right support in place to do their jobs and develop their careers. A big part of this will be continuing the work to change our culture to make EEAST a great place to work for everyone.
I also intend to take steps to strengthen leadership at the Trust and continue the good work which has already started around engagement so that we can make sure we are building high quality and trusted relationships with our communities.
Q: What do you feel are the biggest challenges facing the Trust?
A: Changing our culture so that we can make sure our staff have a consistently good experience at work and our leaders feel supported to be able to drive positive change.
Alongside this, responding to the incredible demand we are seeing for our services and ensuring we continue to meet these needs as we approach the winter period.
Q: What are the greatest opportunities?
A: There are huge opportunities for us. If we make positive progress on culture, ensure we reliably deliver our services and build good quality relationships with our communities, this will give us the opportunity to lead the design and delivery of emergency care across the region. Some great initiatives are happening at a local level, such as our mental health and falls cars – we need to scale up those new models to improve the care we deliver and sustainably tackle some of the demand pressures we are facing.
We have to make our own future; by working together there is the potential for us to be bolder and stronger, which is really exciting.
Q: Do you have a message for our stakeholders and patients?
A: I recognise that we can and need to do better, but we will only be able to achieve that by working together. To our stakeholders, I would stress that the door is open – we want to work with you to understand what’s good and what’s not so good so that we can involve you in our improvement journey.
I would also urge our patients to continue to give us their support and their feedback, as it is only by listening and learning that we can start and continue to take positive action.
Thanking our dedicated volunteers
We celebrated this year’s volunteers’ week, which took place between 1 and 7 June, by thanking our dedicated volunteers and sharing some of their stories through social media. This included community first responder Ben Lavender, who spoke of the satisfaction he gets from helping others and saving lives.
“Arriving on scene first and providing assistance in those first few minutes can make all the difference to our patients,” said Ben. “Being able to provide that additional level of support for our EEAST colleagues before they arrive is hugely rewarding.”
As a result of the publicity, we received more than 50 expressions of interest from people keen to find out more about volunteering with EEAST.
Latest response figures
Latest figures show that demand for our services has continued to rise as restrictions have eased. During June, we received more than 123,500 calls – an increase of more than 6,300 compared with May.
A summary of these key facts and figures is now available and includes a breakdown of the number of calls we have received in each response category.
Quality Account published
Our Quality Account for 2020/21 has been published, with our Annual Report to follow next month.
The Quality Account goes into detail about the progress we have made to improve clinical quality over the past year, while also laying out plans as to how we will develop our services in the future to improve patient care and patient outcomes.
The Annual Report will include a summary of our performance and achievements, annual accounts and finances, as well as an indication of the coming year’s priorities. It will be published on our website during August.
Care Quality Commission progress
We are continuing to make progress on our Care Quality Commission action plan ahead of the inspector’s return later this year.
This month’s progress summary includes an update on the steps we are taking to improve our complaints and grievances processes so that we can deliver better patient care.
Rolling out our new electronic patient care record (ePCR)
As you may know, we are investing more than £25m in state-of-the-art technology which will further improve the safety and quality of care which staff are able to provide to patients.
The project will see every frontline member of staff issued with an iPad so that they can access a brand new electronic patient care record (ePCR) system quickly and easily while on the road. The record includes details of previous ambulance call outs and the patient’s attendances at their GP surgery or acute hospital, as well as vital information about any medications they are taking, recent test results and allergies they may have.
The technology has recently been introduced in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough following a successful trial in Bedfordshire, with the rest of the Trust to follow over the coming months.
More information on our new ePCR and the benefits it will bring is available on our website.
Don’t forget, here’s a date for your diary…Our next public board meeting takes place on Wednesday 8 September via Microsoft Teams.