New chief executive of the ambulance service to make staffing her personal commitment
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
She has been tasked with turning around the region's troubled ambulance service, but Dorothy Hosein, equipped with a wealth of experience under her belt, is confident she will rise to the challenge.
As she undergoes her first full week as the new interim chief executive of the East of England Ambulance Trust (EEAST), Ms Hosein has been meeting with staff at the Norwich Longwater and Hellesdon stations.
Admitting that she was very new to the organisation, she said retaining staff was one of her main pledges in improving the performance of the trust.
'I intend to spend a portion of my week, every single week, with staff,' she said. 'It's about listening to them, what are the key things? Because there's not just one thing.'
She treads on familiar ground as she is hailed the person responsible for lifting the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in King's Lynn from special measures in 2015.
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On how she will carry her experience with her in her new role, she said: 'You build on your experience and it's certainly about the people, we're in a people business. 'We have to be patient centric and staff centric and I intend to have that in everything that I do.'
The trust has been beset with difficulties in the past year, with the former chief executive Robert Morton stepping down in September amid claims the trust buckled under winter pressures which spurred a whistleblowing scandal.
EEAST answered up to 3,200 calls a day during winter 2017/18 and frontline staff had spoken out about the pressure they were under.
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A whistleblower released a damning dossier in which it was claimed some patients came to harm after long delays over the winter.
But not to be deterred by the upcoming winter season, Ms Hosein said a winter plan has been developed which has been tested by regulators, after the trust reviewed the demanding capacity of last year.
She added: 'Winter is getting longer in any healthcare organisation so you just accept that.'
Understaffing has been a major issue for the trust, with more staff leaving the trust than it is able to recruit, and so Ms Hosein has made it her personal commitment to meet with every single staff member who is considering leaving the trust. 'It's a retention issue we have,' she added. 'And I want to know why and I want to see what we can do about it, and work with out managers to retain the staff.
'We need to understand the whole health economy has a shortage of staff nationally, and everybody is trying to recruit from the same pool.
'And people have choice - in the old days you would come and you would stay, now you have choice, you could go to another provider and do different types of shifts, there's different money, so there's a number of different reasons why people are leaving.
'We need to be more creative in how we deal with that, staff very much have the answers and I would be working with them around that.'
She said the trust was 'full on' with recruitment and already had a number of people in training, adding: 'We need to make sure those people that come out of training want to work for this organisation. 'EEAST has got to be that organisation where people go 'I really want to work for them.''
She praised the trust on receiving outstanding for care by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in July, and said it demonstrated the commitment of the workforce.
'I want to work with them to improve the other metrics, and that's my commitment,' she added.
'Being interim to me is not about just taking a part of the job, I own the whole job. And that's my commitment and passion for what I do.'