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.