Survey reveals patients in East of England are satisfied with ambulance care received

Latest ambulance patient satisfaction figures from the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) reveal almost 100% of patients are happy with the care given to them.

Patients across the region were asked about how EEAST cared for them, with 99.1% responding they were very satisfied or satisfied with the overall level of service they received.

The survey, carried out in July, also revealed that 99.1% of patients believed the staff they came into contact with were very professional, and 100% said they were treated with dignity and respect.

Almost 96% felt their call was handled either acceptably or very acceptably, and 90% felt the same for the time they waited for a response. However, within Essex, 13.3% of respondents felt the way their call was handled was unacceptable and 6.7% very unacceptable. Additionally, 7.7% of patients in Essex believed the time waited for a response was unacceptable and 7.7% very unacceptable.

Chief Executive, Robert Morton, said:

‘Each and every day my colleagues demonstrate the best that we could wish for, including their ongoing commitment to provide safe and effective services to the community.’

Generally the comments in the survey from patients were positive. One patient said: ‘This showed the NHS at its best when needed.’

Another said: ‘I have always experienced the ambulance service to be extremely professional, always in control, know exactly what needs to be done and above all else, always put the patient at ease; a job well done on every occasion.’

However, not all respondents felt the same way. One woman, recalling the treatment her husband received, said:

‘The ambulance person did not have sufficient dressings in his case, we had to supply some of our own. Also we waited nearly 45 minutes for someone to arrive, even though the operator was informed my husband was taking warfarin and was bleeding profusely.’

Another disagreed with the professional manner of the staff:

‘The man that came out to see me made a comment that was very unnecessary.’

He added: ‘The comments we have received from patients show that we are constantly striving to improve the service which is already of a very high standard. I would also like to thank everyone for taking the time to give us feedback; these surveys help us build a better ambulance service for the future.’

Elsewhere in the survey, 5.1% of respondents did not feel involved in decisions regarding their care, and 2.3% said their journey in the ambulance was uncomfortable.

Patients within the East of England are surveyed each month by the Patient Experience Team. Out of 375 patient experience surveys issued for the month of July, 117 individuals responded. Questions covered what medical care contact patients had before calling 999, the level of dignity and respect they were treated with, cleanliness, and privacy.

Taken from Journal of Paramedic Practice, published 22 October 2015.

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New chief executive for East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) has announced that Robert Morton has been appointed as its new chief executive.

Morton, a paramedic and a community first responder, has worked in the ambulance service for nearly 25 years, predominantly with the National Ambulance Service in Ireland where he eventually became chief executive for three years. He then went on to be chief executive of the South Australian Ambulance Service.

Morton said: ‘I am thrilled to be the new chief executive and very much look forward to working with my new EEAST colleagues. The service has been through some very difficult and challenging times over the last few years, but I am confident we can build on the good work that Anthony Marsh has put in place to further improve our services for patients and at the same time make this a even better place to work.’

Morton added: ‘Having worked in the ambulance service for many, many years I understand the challenges and issues and how we can resolve them together. Whilst it is not going to be easy, I know first-hand the commitment and dedication of those working in the ambulance service and that together we can make a real difference for patients.’

Trust chair, Sarah Boulton, said: ‘I am delighted Robert is going to lead our Trust as we look to make further improvements to the service we give to patients. Robert is an experienced ambulance chief executive who will be able to connect immediately with frontline staff and volunteers thanks to his paramedic and volunteering background.’

Boulton continued: ‘I would like to pay special thanks to Anthony who has worked tirelessly to rebuild the service since last January. Thanks to this work, we are now in a position to take the next steps on our journey, building a better service for patients and staff.’

Morton will take up the chief executive post on 24 August.

Taken from Journal of Paramedic Practice, published 19 August 2015.

East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust invests £1m in defibrillators for community

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) has unveiled plans to place 1,000 new defibrillators across the east of England.

The investment, which will cost just under £1 million, will see public buildings such as sports centres, village halls and libraries across the six counties EEAST serves, receiving the lifesaving devices.

Distribution of the defibrillators has already begun, and it is hoped that all 1,000 devices will be in position by the end of March.

The Trust is aware of more than 300 automated external defibrillators (AEDs) across the region that can be accessed by a member of staff or the public when they go into cardiac arrest.

North Norfolk is receiving the first 50 defibrillators, another 20 are going into Suffolk, and 40 are being sent out across North Essex. Another 30 are going into Cambridgeshire and 10 in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.

Locations for the remaining devices will be unveiled in due course.

Anthony Marsh, chief executive of EEAST, said:

‘I’m delighted that we have started this important project to invest in the communities we serve by improving access to these lifesaving devices in key locations.

Taken from Journal of Paramedic Practice, published 17 February 2015.

Additional training allows paramedics to treat patients at home

The introduction of specialist paramedic training to the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) has allowed for hundreds of patients to be treated at home, avoiding subsequent referral to hospitals and therefore relieving pressure on overburdened A&E departments.

Figures show that in 2013/14, EEAST carried out wound closure treatment in more than 400 patients at their own home.

This comes as welcome news following a report published by NHS Confederation earlier this year, which emphasised the need for more paramedics to be trained to treat at home. The report, entitled Ripping off the sticking plaster: Whole-system solutions for urgent and emergency care, argued for the need of a radical overhaul of emergency care services in order to cope with unsustainable pressures.

Jori Krijgsman, a clinical operation manager for EEAST, said:

‘The treatment ultimately means better care for patients and saves them a journey to hospital. The wound can be treated quickly and effectively through the use of adhesive stitches or dissolvable glue.’

The training has now been introduced to the new student paramedic course, following successful feedback from patients and paramedics. EEAST currently recruits 400 students.

Taken from Journal of Paramedic Practice, published 23 June 2014.

Student paramedic recruitment drives

Last month it was announced that the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) was aiming to recruit 400 student paramedics as part of the service’s turnaround plan which was issued in April last year (EEAST, 2013). The plan was brought about following criticism directed at the service as a result of poor response times, where it was felt that people could not be assured they would receive care in a timely and effective manner (Care Quality Commission, 2013).

Within the plan, the Trust acknowledges: ‘We are not delivering our 999 service, which is our core business well enough’ (EEAST, 2013). It outlines some of the challenges faced by the Trust, which it groups into the headings: leadership, our people, clinical operational delivery, and systems and processes.

The recruitment drive comes as a result of the realisation that there are not enough front-line resources available to deliver the required levels of service in both urban and rural areas. This includes not enough staff or double staffed ambulances.

Response to the new student paramedic programme has been overwhelming, with the number of applications exceeding 1200 in the week it was launched (EEAST, 2014). It is undoubted that this is largely due to the ability for students to learn while on the job. The increasing prevalence of higher education institution qualifications in paramedic science as a means to achieve HCPC registration, and corresponding reduction in student paramedic positions with ambulance service Trusts, has meant that many people wishing to pursue a career as a paramedic have been unable to do so due to factors such as cost.

Currently, paramedic education favours those who are able to financially support themselves, yet this does not promote fair or widened access to the profession (Allied Health Solutions, 2013).

The student training programme offered by EEAST will include a recognised qualification via a partner higher education institution that leads to eligibility to apply for registration with the HCPC, yet it is unclear how this will be delivered. Qualification from the programme takes two and a half years.

The initiative from EEAST is just one of a number that combine an apprenticeship model with learning from higher education institutions. Another notable example would be the Scottish model of the Ambulance Service sponsoring an Academy linked to Glasgow Caledonian University (Allied Health Solutions, 2013).

It is hoped that the EEAST recruitment drive will help with the recovery of the organisation, and so allow for the delivery of high-quality services for patients, not to mention it will also offer a considerable number of career opportunities for people in the east of England.

References:

Allied Health Solutions (2013) Paramedics Evidence Based Education Project (PEEP). End of Study Report. Buckinghamshire New University, High Wycombe

Care Quality Commission (2013) East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust HQ. Inspection Report, March 2013. http://tinyurl.com/omftynq (accessed 31 January 2014)

East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (2013) Delivering better services for our patients: The turnaround plan for the East of England NHS Trust.

East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (2014) More than a thousand application—and rising! http://tinyurl.com/og9mnmo (accessed 31 January 2014)

Taken from Journal of Paramedic Practice, published 7 February 2014.