Ambulance service recruited backroom staff when paramedics needed


Ambulance - Credit: Archant

SENIOR managers at East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) failed to listen to staff when they stuck to plans to recruit more non-operational workers when there was a desperate need for front-line paramedics, according to a report.

But the report’s author, who is chief executive of one of the country’s most successful ambulance services, said that while it would take time to turn things around, it would succeed.

In his report, which included 25 recommendations, West Midlands ambulance boss Anthony Marsh criticised senior managers for not listening to staff.

He said: “There is a feeling across the organisation that the trust board does not listen, and that leadership does not come from board level. This can be evidenced in the fact that the board has only recently accepted that there is a shortage of front-line ambulance crews within the trust yet managers state they have been raising this for some time.”

He added: “Despite this recognition, there are still plans to recruit about £350,000 worth of non-operational staff to the trust. This funding would be far better utilised recruiting further front-line paramedics, providing patient care and meeting response times.”

The report added that there appeared to be a lack of accountability throughout the organisation, partly due to a complicated organisational structure and confused managers. Dr Marsh also said the trust’s targets for this year were “ambitious” given that there had not been a “single cohesive improvement action plan”.

The service is still failing to hit its target of responding to 75 per cent of the most life-threatening emergencies within eight minutes.

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The trust now has four weeks to pull together an action plan.

Dr Marsh added: “The plan will succeed. Everybody wants it to succeed. It is going to be several weeks before that final plan is published and then we need to put all those building blocks in place. But be clear, progress is being made and people are working hard to bring about those further improvements.”

He ruled out breaking up the service into smaller organisations as it would not allow the economies of scale.

The trust’s new chairman, Geoff Harris, said one of his first tasks would be to review the findings of the report and submit a formal response to the NHS Trust Development Authority.