Chief Executive marks first anniversary at NEAS

Wednesday, 04 November, 2015


Chief Executive Yvonne Ormston has marked her first anniversary at the helm of North East Ambulance Service by unveiling the future direction for the organisation.

She has launched a renewed purpose, vision and strategy for the service at its recent annual general meeting, held at Teesside University where more than 120 students have enrolled this year to study to become paramedics.

Yvonne said: “When I joined NEAS last year, it was against a background of deteriorating performance and a Care Quality Commission visit which had resulted in a number of concerns. Morale was low and our regulator had demanded a full review of our governance arrangements.

“Despite this, our patient care was very good, which for me was a really important indicator that we had great staff with a strong caring attitude. Much of our emphasis has been on tackling some of the challenges before us, in particular recruiting more paramedics into the organisation so we hope to reach our full staffing levels by September 2016.

“Whilst a lot is happening and is planned, it will take a while to positively impact on the frontline. We also have some major challenges ahead, particularly financial challenges, but I do believe we can turn things around.”

Across the country, NHS England has published a vision to reshape the NHS that calls for a ‘fundamental shift in the way urgent and emergency care services are provided to all ages, improving out of hospital services so that we deliver more care closer to home and reduce hospital attendances and admissions’.

Yvonne said: “We know that we can play a pivotal role in delivering the NHS’ vision for urgent and emergency care. I am really pleased that our bid to spearhead the development in urgent and emergency care was awarded to the North East region. This is really exciting because we are not just developing urgent and emergency care in the North East; our innovation will eventually become the blueprint for these services in other parts of the country as well.”

In her first 12 months, Yvonne has overseen the creation and recruitment of a new frontline supervision post for all emergency care staff to ensure more support for those 999 workers and overseen the selection and training of more than 200 student paramedics over the next three years.

“My top priority when I joined NEAS was to stem the flow of people leaving and make sure we were recruiting to full staffing levels. We are now above current establishment levels in control, we have a small shortfall in PTS and we are beginning to making some progress in emergency care,” said Yvonne.

“Alongside recruitment, we have also started to integrate our patient transport and emergency care operations which has helped us to reduce our reliance on third party providers. I also introduced a voluntary severance scheme for support service staff that has allowed us to save on back-office costs and reinvest these savings into frontline resources,” Yvonne added.

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