Foreword and statement on quality from the Board

Foreword and statement on quality from the Board 

Patients are at the core of what we do here at the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST). We Provide help and support when people face some of their most difficult and challenging situations. Our crews deliver safe high quality patient care when an incident requires an urgent emergency response. 

We are one team here at EEAST and our Quality Account for 2021/22 shows the journey we are on as an organisation. My goal is for EEAST to develop a culture of continuous improvement and to move forwards with a new strategy. 

The strategy will map out the Trust’s path to a stronger future by focusing on these key areas: 

  • Supporting our people and their wellbeing – making EEAST a great place to work 
  • Training and education – developing our people 
  • Responsiveness for patients – doing the best we can, as efficiently as we can 
  • Operational infrastructure to maximise patient flow – strengthening our service 
  • New and improving – modernising services for effectiveness and efficiency 
  • Governance and communications – keeping everyone better up to date with what’s happening 
  • Experience of our patients’ and staff – ensuring better outcomes for patients 
  • Relationships internally and with key partners – building our service through partnership 

If we can be successful in focusing clearly on these vital areas here at EEAST then patients will benefit through a renewed and improved ambulance service across our six counties in the east of England. 

There are wider factors within the health system that are continuing to affect the experience of our patients. We are still experiencing significant impact from COVID cases, increasing demand and system pressure. We are working closely with system partners to ensure that the risk to our patients is shared with the wider health community. 

Our employees have worked exceptionally hard to increase the number of Patient Facing Staff Hours available to our communities to meet the increasing demand and pressure. The Trust has been significantly impacted by delays at hospitals when handing over our patients. We have introduced measures to make sure our patients remain safe while increasing the speed of admission upon arrival at the hospital. Ambulances are then able to return to emergency response on the frontline quicker due to the faster admissions process at hospitals. 

Another area of continuing focus for the Trust is processes to mitigate the risk to our patients and our employees from these challenges with robust frameworks and planning. An independent review of our governance framework has been completed and areas of improvement have been identified for action.

We recognise how difficult the pandemic has been for our people and we have funded six welfare wagons. These are staffed by volunteers and provide refreshments at our hospitals when our staff are queued waiting to handover patients. We are working to make the offering more holistic in terms of well being, for the coming months. The project has been really well received and has provided relief during some very difficult shifts for our crews. We have established the end of shift trial as business as usual and are getting more of our staff home on time. Consideration is now being given as to how we make sure that hospital delays and system pressure do not impact on our ability to achieve this.

During the pandemic we have developed a number of new initiatives to increase the resources available to patients. We are progressing with Non Clinical Drivers and co responding projects with the Fire Service to improve our responsiveness. We continue to benefit from a large team of volunteers who willingly give up their free time to help our patients. We are extremely grateful for all their work.

We have recruited an additional 100 plus call handlers in response to an increasing number of calls. An adapted training programme has been developed to ensure we have the staff on boarded and our call pick up performance improves. In recognition of the increasing pressures within the system we have increased the specialist practitioner clinicians within the control rooms. Their experience can provide support to our frontline clinicians and assist in signposting our patients to the most appropriate care pathways.

The Trust has established an 80% reduction in legacy casework over the last 12 months and is recruiting an Employee Relations team to deal with the new cases. We recognise the importance of ensuring that our staff feel able to raise concerns and that when they do these are dealt with fairly and within an appropriate timeframe.

As part of our work to improve the culture of the organisation we have launched a Freedom to Speak Up (FTSU) ambassador programme and increased the capacity within the FTSU team. We have also initiated a review of our workforce capacity to ensure that we have the appropriate people in place to provide a responsive service to our communities.

Much has been achieved in the last 12 months during what has been an extremely challenging year for the whole of the wider health environment but we recognise that much more is required as we focus on moving out of Special Measures. I have received a really warm welcome to team EEAST and I am proud of the outstanding care our teams have provided despite the difficulties. I am really looking forward to the challenges ahead and working with our excellent teams to achieve more for our people and patients.

Together we can build a stronger EEAST. 

Tom Abell
Chief Executive Officer


Next page: Introducing the EEAST Quality Account 2021-22

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