Winter is here, are you prepared?

Date: 27 November 2018

HART supervisor Martyn Gell in the snow.

We are prepared for winter.

In September, we published our plan winter preparations, while also supporting the health and wellbeing of staff. These include:

  • liaising closely with staff in hospital emergency departments to make sure patients can be handed over quickly and efficiently at hospital
  • making sure additional capacity is made available to maintain vehicles and minimise any breakdowns or mechanical failures, in turn keeping more ambulances on the road
  • putting comprehensive staffing, resourcing and management arrangements in place
  • promoting wellbeing among staff and encouraging uptake of the flu jab to reduce sickness absence
  • putting specific plans in place for the Christmas and New Year period, including increased clinical support in our control rooms
  • holding daily tactical conference calls to review demand, staffing and performance

Dorothy Hosein, Interim Chief Executive, said: “Winter last year was incredibly challenging for the entire NHS system. This year the Trust has created robust plans, working closely with hospitals and other NHS partners to ensure that patients are given the best quality care across the East of England. Patients are at the heart of our plans and we will do everything we can to keep them safe.”

You can #HelpUsHelpYou and take steps to make sure you’re ready for winter, by simply taking steps to make sure you enjoy a happy and safe winter season.


The EEAST guide to a safe and happy winter

The top tip is to make the right call. You want us to respond to the most critical patients as fast as possible, and we can only do that with your help. Use 111 when someone’s life isn’t in danger.


  • Drive to the weather. The road conditions can vary, your grip levels and your stopping distances may change… even in one day! Try to give yourself extra time for travelling, that way you avoid getting stressed and making a decision you could regret forever.


Staying well:

  • Have enough medication to last over the weekends and festive periods. Always speak to your GP or chemist if your starting to run low on medication, but this is especially important over winter, when cold weather can make some conditions even worse.
  • Look out for neighbours and relatives who need some extra help. The cold can make life more difficult for people, so check in with anyone who may need support as regularly as you can so that we can avoid emergencies.


Make the right call:

  • The Trust has talked very openly about its capacity gap which, thanks to recent funding, it is starting to reduce. This however, won’t happen overnight. So, remember if you don’t need an ambulance, then make your own way to A&E or walk in centre, and don’t forget your GP or chemist.


The ambulance service will, as always, be working closely with its partners in the NHS and wider to keep patients safe.

This work will be overseen by a new Regional Tactical Command Cell, which will ensure senior staff are available and on-call 24/7 and can escalate any issues which may arise so that immediate mitigating action can be taken. It will also monitor hospital turnaround data to give an overview of where capacity is available and act as a single point of contact for all external NHS partners, such as hospitals and commissioners, to improve communication and joint working.

To read the winter planning document in full, you can view the Board papers here.

  • Summary:

    We are prepared for winter.