The east of England is a real mix of urban and rural environments. During the winter, especially when we have periods of bad weather, our operational managers work closely with essential staff and volunteers to make sure we give patients the best service possible.
Here Nick Jones, a Trust operational performance manager, looks at how the service plans ahead and has coped over the last few weeks:
“Over the past month or so the east of England has seen varying degrees of bad weather. Snow and ice can affect the service significantly when responding to patients. However our control rooms who receive the 999 calls, adapt the way they work so that the emergency clinical crews who visit patients in rapid response vehicles or ambulances and other Trust services which support them, can provide the best and safest service possible to our patients
We plan ahead for bad weather every winter. We get daily weather updates from the Met Office which warns of us particularly difficult conditions approaching which in turn triggers a number of actions.
- Additional clinical staff are brought into control rooms to support patients waiting for an ambulance
- Additional 999 call handlers and vehicle dispatchers are brought in to ensure efficient and smooth running of the call centres during a time of high call volume and poor weather
- Extra 4×4 vehicles are brought in and we work with 4×4 volunteers in the region to make sure that essential staff can get into work and home again
- In Norfolk a voluntary ambulance service allows us to use their 4×4 ambulance to reach patients in more difficult locations.
All three of our control rooms work long hours. In the recent snow, some of our staff left home up to three hours earlier than normal to make sure that they were at work on time. They work tirelessly and professionally in difficult conditions to provide a good service to the people who rely on us.
999 is a life line and we are here for you when you need us. Go to http://www.eastamb.nhs.uk/the-right-call.htm for information about the Trust’s Right Call campaign. “