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Intouch EEAST
Welcome to September's InTouch EEAST. In this edition…
  • Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
  • One year
  • EEAST staff hit the headlines
  • Award-winning wellbeing garden opens
  • Developing our clinical strategy
  • Meeting our patients’ unmet needs
  • Patient and public involvement strategy launches
  • Volunteer staff responder scheme trialled
  • Could you “outrun an ambulance”?
  • Our latest performance
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

I would like to start this edition of InTouch by sharing my sadness at the passing of Her Majesty the Queen. She showed outstanding commitment and service to our country over the decades and was the very embodiment of selfless public duty and an incredible example for us all.

Throughout the period of mourning and the funeral, staff from across EEAST have been working in partnership with other ambulance trusts and emergency services to keep our communities safe. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our people who have worked so hard during this period.

One year
Tom Abell stood in front of an ambulance

It is now a year since I joined EEAST. It goes without saying that what has stood out to me during that time has been the sheer commitment of our people. Their hard work, passion and desire to improve the Trust and our services shines through and is something of which they should be proud. 

We know that EEAST has a long journey of improvement ahead, and I’ve always been clear that it will take at least three to five years to make the changes we all want to see. However, we have already started to make substantial progress in many areas. 

Over the past year, we have:

  • Resolved more than 90% of our long-standing legacy employee relations cases. 
  • Seen a reduction in the number of people experiencing bullying and harassment, and a 71% drop in those suffering sexual harassment. 
  • Seen 75% of staff complete values training to ensure our behaviour is civil and respectful.
  • Celebrated the long service and achievements of more than 500 colleagues.
  • Taken steps to ensure we take firm and proportionate action where people do not act in line with our values and expected standards of behaviour.
  • Welcomed more than 330 new frontline A&E, control room and PTS staff to the Trust, with more to follow before the end of the year.
  • Increased the support we offer to our staff for their physical and mental health and introduced welfare wagons and trolleys to offer refreshments to those waiting to hand over patients at emergency departments.
  • Launched our new end of shift protocols and hospital cohorting arrangements, which we are continuing to develop to help get everyone home on time more frequently.
  • Made our hospital ambulance liaison officer (HALO) roles permanent to support colleagues waiting to hand over patients while continuing to develop relationships with our hospitals.
  • Secured investment into our community first responder groups and introduced new cars and equipment such as Raizer chairs.

Despite these steps forward, we know that there is still much to do – not least to help our teams continue to respond to the new levels of demand which we are experiencing across the country and reduce the impact this has had on response times for patients, which we know can sometimes be far too long. 

We are already taking action in these areas and will continue this work over the winter. Steps taken include: 

  • Expanding the role of advanced paramedics in our control rooms to support triage and on the road to improve patient care.
  • Passing appropriate calls to partner services which can better meet those patients’ needs, such as NHS 111.  
  • Continuing to build on our partnerships across the public sector to further expand our co-response capability and capacity.
  • Beginning the process of localising our service to better support integration of our service with local health and care partners.

I would like to thank all of our staff, volunteers and partners who have helped us to make this progress. We still have an awful lot more to do to resolve long standing problems and rise to the challenge of new ones, but I am confident that if we continue working together, we will keep making a difference.

Tom Abell
Chief Executive
Two male EEAST staff members in green uniform stood in front of an ambulance


EEAST staff hit the headlines

Colleagues from across EEAST have been hitting the headlines over the summer – and making the nation smile at the same time.

Dave Tamarro and Joe Cartwright went viral in July when we shared hilarious outtakes from a video they were making to mark international paramedic’s day on 8 July. As well as attracting hundreds of thousands of views across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, the duo also appeared on Claudia Winkleman’s Radio 2 programme and were the most watched video on the BBC News website.

This was followed by the story of emergency medical technician Jeremy Williams (pictured on the right with colleague Shaun Whittington), which captured the media spotlight in August.

Jeremy was treating a woman in cardiac arrest when he had a heart attack. His teammates then worked effectively to manage both casualties – with both going on to make full recoveries.

If you haven’t already seen the video of our laughing paramedics, you can catch it here.

Jeremy’s story is available in full on our website.

Three male EEAST staff members sat on a bench in the wellbeing garden


Award-winning wellbeing garden opens

A garden which was awarded a silver medal at last year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show has been gifted to Chelmsford Ambulance Station as a space for staff to enjoy and unwind.

Named ‘60o East – A Garden Between Continents’, the garden was donated by Sean Butler of garden design and landscape company, Cube 1994 Ltd.

Sean said: “I wanted to thank the staff at EEAST for the care and compassion they provided to my late mother. This seemed the perfect way as it will have an ongoing positive impact.

“We have been designing gardens at RHS Chelsea Flower Show and the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show for some years now and it has been a pleasure for our team to rebuild the garden at Chelmsford Ambulance Station which was challenging and really tested all of our ingenuity.”  

To read the full story, click here.

Illustration explaining the clinical strategy


Developing our clinical strategy

We have been developing a clinical strategy for urgent and emergency care which sets out our plan for improving care and addressing challenges within the region. This future clinical model has been created through extensive engagement and is underpinned by an agreed set of ten design principles, as illustrated above. 

At the start of this month, we held our first partnership engagement event, which gave 50 attendees the chance to explore how the clinical strategy would work in practice and the development of multidisciplinary approaches and teams. 

Partners focused on the use of data and real time data to enable better responsiveness, and recommended that we should update our directory of services and map alternative pathways in each locality to support appropriate conveyances. We also need to support our crews to safely discharge patients more readily to community partners.

Partners appreciated being given the opportunity to engage at the design stage of the strategy and were able to offer insights and tangible ways that we can work together to provide responsive care to our patients. Plans are in place for further engagement throughout the autumn.

Meeting our patients’ unmet needs

Earlier this month, we brought together local authority, social care and voluntary sector organisations to help us create a full list of local support services which could meet our patients’ unmet needs. 

It comes after we were awarded funding from NHS Charities Together to appoint colleagues dedicated to signposting patients to wider community support pathways. This could include help tackling loneliness or finding a support group or other sources of non-clinical care.

Our unmet needs navigators will contact appropriate, consenting patients to discuss their needs and possible sources of help and support. Their aim will be to provide the right care in the right place delivered by the right service, in turn reducing pressure on the NHS. 
Patient and public involvement strategy launches

We have launched a new interim patient and public involvement strategy to help us make sure our patients and the communities we serve always remain at the heart of our services. 

The ‘strategy on a page’ has been co-produced with our patients and sets the direction for our patient and public involvement activity. It gives clear guidance on what the Trust will do to make sure that the voices of our patients and communities are heard so that they can directly influence improvement and the delivery of services.

The strategy has five key areas identified by patients and the public:
  • ethos
  • involvement and engagement
  • accessibility
  • communication
  • networking
It was developed using feedback from 16 workshops, which were attended by patients, community representatives, volunteers and specialist groups. A workplan is now being drawn up to support delivery of the strategy.

You can find out more by watching our launch video. To see our strategy on a page, click here.

Volunteer staff responder scheme trialled

EEAST is trialling a volunteer staff responder scheme to help critically ill patients receive life-saving help more quickly.

The trial will see 15 staff responders set up in two ICS areas – Norfolk and Waveney and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. They will provide immediate care for category one patients until EEAST crews arrive.

The trial will be trialled in addition to our existing community first responder scheme, which has been running successfully for many years and sees trained members of the public respond to nearby emergency incidents.

Graphic of an ambulance and people exercising. Text reads: Can you go the extra mile and outrun and ambulance


Could you ‘outrun an ambulance’?

Generous supporters have raised nearly £3,750 for EEAST’s charity by successfully outrunning an ambulance – and there’s still time to join them.

A total of 32 people have already completed the virtual challenge by conquering the mileage an ambulance covers on an average shift by running, walking, swimming, cycling or riding anything self-propelled. 

The money they have raised is being used to improve break areas for staff at our stations and provide welfare wagons to support crews at hospitals during periods of operational pressure. 

There is still time to sign up for the challenge, which runs until 31 December. 
More information is available here.

Our latest performance

Our latest performance figures show that our control rooms had 111,545 contacts during August, which was a reduction of more than 15,300 compared with July.

We received 8,321 category one calls and attended 57,040 face-to-face incidents. 

You can read our latest monthly performance dashboard here.

Don't forget, here's a date for your diary...

Our next public board meeting takes place on Wednesday 9 November via Microsoft Teams.

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East of England Ambulance Headquarters, Whiting Way, Melbourn, Cambridgeshire, SG8 6EN

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