EEAST Board meeting Q&A

Questions were posed by SWF Health & Social Care Group to East of England Ambulance Service at their Board meeting held on 8 September. Their answers are below each question. Further questions were asked at their meeting today, and answers will be published once received.

Q: What does the Trust understand to be the difference between public engagement and public involvement? What is expected from the co-production process? What will you do to return the Trust to highly effective and productive engagement?

A: The DoNCQI noted there was debate over the difference between engagement and
involvement. Engagement was the opportunity to speak with the public about services and
complaints. Involvement was focussed on a specific programme of work for the public to inform.
Work had been undertaken with Healthwatch on co-production to ensure the Trust was able to
involve the public effectively in service design. Work was also underway alongside the ICS on
how the Trust could support and drive system solutions.

Q: What are the measures you are taking to deliver a safe emergency service, and what advice
do you have for those calling 999 who are told there will be a significant wait for an ambulance.

A: The DCOO advised that resources were transferred between areas based on demand and
availability. Where areas were more specifically limited in resources other services were diverted
to meet the need. Priority calls were also escalated where there was a deteriorating patient
condition. Alternatively, a rapid response vehicle could be dispatched to obtain further information
on the patient condition. Where there were areas with high demand and limited resource, further
capacity was being pursued.

Q: Given the extraordinary pressures and the predicted worse pressures through winter, what
are you doing to increase the number of community first responders (CFR) to support the
emergency response when a long wait for ambulances if likely.

A: the Trust was seeking to increase CFR groups. During COVID there was a reduction in the
use of CFR’s due to shielding or vulnerability. This was now increasing to more average levels
with some CFR groups expanding. Work was also underway in some areas alongside the fire
and rescue service to support a timelier response. CFR groups were being prioritised for
expansion in rural areas. It was vital CFRs received appropriate training which had been
impacted by COVID, in particular ride outs could not be offered during COVID due to social

For Wednesday 10 November 2021’s public virtual Board meeting may we ask a few follow up questions:

  • Q: As at local and strategic levels (South Woodham Ferrers Health & Social Care Group and East of England Major Trauma Network’s Trauma East Voices Group) we don’t seem to be receiving much (if any) patient & public information, involvement and engagement from EEAST and want to engage constructively, what measures are being put in place to facilitate engagement by the Trust with such groups?
  • Q: Appreciating the present extreme pressure EEAST is suffering, what please is your advice to people in their homes and on the streets who suffer an accident or incident worthy of a 999 call and ambulance attendance but not of an immediate life threatening nature? For instance the person who fell on an uneven pavement in SWF, possibly broke her hip, couldn’t move and had to wait hours in the street and cold before an ambulance arrived; and, a patient recently discharged from hospital with a serious organ condition having a relapse and waiting hours where alternative transport was not feasible?
  • Q: what use of CFRs, emergency service colleagues, the military and others can and is being made to support the EEAST emergency service?