Patient and Public Involvement

During the last year patient and public involvement has seen the coproduction of the patient and public involvement strategy. This has been the first entirely coproduced strategy by the Trust. It went beyond consulting with our patients, to being led by them, their views and their needs.

With support from our Healthwatch partners, the strategy was developed through a series of 16 coproduction workshops, with 70 attendances by patients, community representatives, volunteers and specialist groups. It concluded with strategy writing workshops, ensuring that the language used was that of our patients. Coproduction sessions were as inclusive as possible, and sessions were offered at a variety of times with both open forums and specialist groups.

Community Engagement Group

Our community engagement group extends the reach of the patient and public involvement team. Working with this group of volunteers enables us to link in with representatives of communities and those with an interest in the service from across the region. Members regularly share their views on the service as critical friends, suggesting ways the service could be improved for patients and the public. The development of the patient and public involvement strategy has given the community engagement group an opportunity to develop the ways in which members engage with the Trust and their communities. The group has set an ambitious workplan focussing on portfolio areas of special interest to best utilise the expertise of our volunteers and ensure the group is best placed to support the delivery of the strategy.

Patients are at the heart of everything we do.

Our standards are set to ensure the level of clinical care given to patients is what we would want for our own family and friends.

The result was our strategy on a page which identified five key priority areas:


We will demonstrate integrity, compassion and honesty by listening to the voice of patients and the public.

Ways we will do this?

We will engage with people compassionately, giving honest information about the Trust. Using our patient's voices to support improvements. 

Involvement and Engagement

We will use a range of face-to-face and virtual opportunities for co-production, events, activities and projects. 

Ways we will do this? 

The Trust will plan and work with our staff and volunteers to offer a greater variety of engagement and involvement opportunities. 


We will strive to ensure that involvement and engagement opportunities can be accessed by all.

Ways we will do this? 

The Trust will review and implement new ways to engage with people in an accessible way. 


We will proactively work with representatives, groups, organisations and other services to gain a wider perspective.

Ways we will do this?

We will work with our teams, staff and volunteers to engage with a wider range of patients groups, representative and organisations.


We will use a wide variety of ways to communicate, promote and deliver involvement and engagement. 

Ways we will do this?

We will use ideas gained during co-production to develop multi-media approaches to sharing and promoting involvement and engagement.


Engagement Activities

Face-to-face engagement events provided an opportunity to speak with the public about our services and gain feedback. This gave us an opportunity to hear from people who may not usually have contacted EEAST. Most engagement this year has been virtual with opportunities for face-to-face engagement remaining low. As a Trust we are mindful of the current COVID situation, we understand the importance of physical presence at events with our communities.

Engagement with schools and community groups has been challenged during the pandemic. These visits give EEAST the opportunity to talk to children about the correct use of the service, offer some first aid and CPR training and show children the equipment we use.

Types of engagement activity includes:

  • Public engagement events (5)
  • Internal EEAST meeting (23)
  • CEG meetings (18)
  • Educational visits / careers talks (17)
  • Working with NHS and social care partners (24)
  • Delivering first aid courses (18)
  • Healthwatch meetings (11)
  • Meetings setting up future engagement opportunities (29)
  • Meeting community representative groups (7) 

Patient and Family Stories

Our discovery interviews with patients supplement our other feedback channels as a Trust. These interviews gave patients the opportunity to share their story in their own words on video. These are shown at public board meetings and discussed by the Board.  Discovery interviews are also used for training, handling complaints, serious incidents, and as part of the colleague induction programme. Patient stories are a powerful learning tool for hearing the patient voice directly from them. This year we have completed 15 virtual interviews and four face-to-face interviews. The team has been developing ways to share interviews with colleagues.

Links with Healthwatch and patient representative groups

The patient and public involvement team and our community engagement group volunteers regularly attend Healthwatch meetings and other meetings of patient representative groups including the citizen’s senate and patient participation groups. We hope to increase our representation at these meetings over the coming year with support from our volunteers. This will help extend the reach of the Trust’s patient and public involvement to engage widely. We have welcomed support and training on coproduction from Healthwatch Suffolk which has been key in coproduction of the strategy.

Complaints, concerns and compliments

Our refreshed policy for complaints and compliments was launched in April 2021. This introduced a new complexity grading for complaints, concerns and comments. This change in process has enabled the Trust to manage expectations in a more positive and accurate way. On receipt of any negative patient feedback, the patient experience team will grade the complexity of the incidents raised, questions and statements received by the complainant. We understand that each and every complaint or concern is individual to the person and that as a Trust we want to ensure that a thorough investigation has taken place.

Timescale guide

Within 25 working days

Within 25 working days

To be agreed with complainant

To be agreed with complainant



Single area involved/single simple question

More than one EEAST area or department involved/one or more questions which are simple to answer

EEAST crew(s) or including another organisation (PAS, hospital, other healthcare provider)/multiple questions or incidents from complainant

Multiple organisation/multiple or complex questions from complainant or a potential serious incident (SI)

The consent request process for complaints and concerns was changed on 1 January 2022, and consent is now requested before the investigation can be started. Once consent has been received, this allows our investigators to contact the complainant/patient to discuss their concerns openly without the worry of breaching data protection regulations.

Compliments always far outweigh the number of complaints received, and in 2021-22, 2,558 compliments were received regarding the service. Compliments are reported to Board and also emailed to the individual colleagues with the local management teams copied in so that they can be acknowledged and recorded on the persons’ personnel file.

We receive an average of 213 compliments per month.

Complaints and concerns account for less than 1% of the contacts we have with patients however, we closely monitor the volume of complaints received to ensure we identify any trends and themes to support service improvement and early intervention.

During the last year we have seen clear themes through the complaints and concerns received. Mainly involving delays in sending an ambulance and on occasions when we have asked patients to make their own way to hospital. The Trust has developed a clear action plan and has.


Feedback from patients:

  • "Your drivers are always helpful, courteous and friendly." (Patient Transport Service)
  • "Amazing. Great support from the call handler right through to arriving at hospital. Very quick response from all ambulances required." (Emergency Services)
  • "Very kind and courteous crew, also very efficient and thorough treatment." (Emergency Services)
  • "The paramedics arrived very quickly and provided excellent medical support whilst showing great compassion for the patient and her family. They went out of their way to get the correct treatment at the most appropriate hospital." (Emergency Services)
  • "The call handler was calm, kind and listened well. They explained the process clearly and made me feel reassured. The paramedics who attended were wonderful. Again - very calm and patient, explaining things clearly." (Emergency Services)
  • "The crew on both journeys was out of this world... Took my mind off going to and form the hospital and made me safe and welcoming." (Patient Transport Service)
  • "The paramedics were superb, empathetic, professional and comforting." (Emergency Services)


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