Ambulance Watch: New part-time CEO pledges to address ‘inadequate’ ambulance recruitment plan

Anthony Marsh, who has been confirmed at the new chief executive of the East of England Ambulance Service. Anthony Marsh, who has been confirmed at the new chief executive of the East of England Ambulance Service.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013
6:04 PM

The new chief executive of the region’s ambulance service described the trust’s recruitment plan as “wholly inadequate” as he pledged to make the hiring of more paramedics his top priority.

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Anthony Marsh, who was today confirmed as the new CEO of the East of England Ambulance Service, as well as retaining his chief executive post at the West Midlands Ambulance Service, said the number of paramedics in the West Midlands had increased by 120 this year when the East of England had only seen a net gain of seven.

The senior ambulance leader, who conducted a critical review of the leadership and organisation of the under-scrutiny health trust this year, will take up his new role on January 1 and said he will spend four days a week in the East of England.

Dr Marsh, who has 26 years experience in the ambulance service, has pledged to make student paramedic recruitment a priority, but warned that it could take two years to completely turn around the fortunes of the East of England service, which has been criticised by the Care Quality Commission, MPs and patients over slow responses and poor performance.

He will be responsible for two trusts that cover a population of more than 11 million people. But Dr Marsh urged critics of his part-time chief executive role to “judge me by results”.

He pledged: “Do not judge me on how many days I’ll be in the East of England, judge me on improvements being achieved. I understand that people will have some anxieties around that. I am going to spend four days a week in the East of England Ambulance Service - I know the priorities we need to pay attention to and I am determined to do that.”

The interim chief executive of the ambulance service, Andrew Morgan, pledged earlier this year to recruit 350 extra frontline staff. However, figures last month revealed that between January and September, the East of England Ambulance Service hired 44 qualified paramedics and three specialist paramedics. However, 40 paramedics left in that time.

Dr Marsh added: “The recruitment plan has been wholly inadequate. We recruited 260 new staff in the West Midlands this year - 120 staff left the trust, but we have 140 extra paramedics and student paramedics. I think to get to a high performing ambulance service that will take two years. It takes time to recruit more paramedics.”

In his review of the governance of the East of England Ambulance Service, which was published in the summer, Dr Marsh said that the trust board had developed a sense of “helplessness” and there was a lack of “cohesive” plan for it to meet its targets. He revealed yesterday that he had offered to provide the team of the East of England Ambulance Service further advice and support following the publication of his review. However, the offer was not taken up.

Dr Marsh also hinted that there may be further director changes at the East of England service next year.

“We need the best people and I need to make sure people are facing in the same direction and that may mean change. The staff have been working really hard and some improvement has been made, but it is not fast enough,” he said.

The chairman of the East of England Ambulance Service hailed the recruitment of one of England’s most experienced ambulance leaders following the hiring of Anthony Marsh.

The announcement by the NHS Trust Development Authority (TDA) comes almost a year after former NHS Norfolk chief executive, Andrew Morgan, joined the ambulance service as acting CEO.

Geoffrey Harris, chairman of the ambulance trust, paid tribute to Mr Morgan for the work he had done.

“There is no doubt he has done a fantastic professional job, bearing in mind he came in as an interim. He had identified the challenges the ambulance service faces and in the immediate term, he improved efficiency and made the best of what we have got,” he said.

Dr Harris added that Mr Morgan would continue to work with the trust throughout January as part of the transition process and the trust would work with the TDA in February and March to identify opportunities for his future career.

Commenting on the recruitment of Dr Marsh, the chairman added: “There is no doubt he is the country’s leading ambulance service chief executive and I am really pleased he is able to come to us. I would like to think he will build on the foundations Andrew has put in place to shape the service for the future.”

7 comments

  • So the man who stressed the importance of leadership only wants the job part time. Was that a recommendation of his?

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    Jeffrey Osborne

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • The press, MPs and many members of the public may believe that Mr Marsh will be the man for the job. However, those ambulance staff who have worked in East Anglia for some time will be deeply suspicious of yet another CEO stating: ''That with the support of the staff, we can really make a difference to the care that we provide to patients.” I'm afraid that it will take a lot more than the use of a cliche to turn EEAST around.

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    Bad Form

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • I still have great difficulty in seeing how a part time appointment -if that is what it is - can address the big issues that have been uncovered. It defies all logic! Also please note that Morgan has already received a very substantial payout about a year ago so must surely not be entitled to any more. He was only an interim appointment.

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    andy

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

  • Working for west midlands ambulance service I can only tell you that he advocates the bullying style of management and morale lowering of all road staff and harassing none stop whilst on jobs and at hospitals When he arrived in 2006 initially it seemed ok and had an overhaul of chopping manager numbers in half, in 2013 morale is at it's lowest, managers have increased by 20 fold, demand has risen as has the bullying of crews to get them back on the road asap without care of road staffs mental or physical health Being followed by unmarked vehicles and reported on if they believe we have not made enough progress whilst responding to jobs, working on vehicles that are not road worthy but unable to book them off in fear of being questioned and threatened or simply told that we must carry on using it as no other vehicle is available,automatically booking crews in attendance 200 yards away from the call as the crow flies despite it sometimes taking 3-4 mins extra to reach the call due to road layouttraffic! Utterly corrupt style of management The list is endless, on paper West Midlands ambulance service appears wonderful as did Essex ambulance service but scrape the surface and crevices appear Hopefully he will pack up and move and take all his corrupt managers with him! The sooner the better

    Report this comment

    thetruthteller

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

  • From where I am watching I think a (so called) part time leader, who just happens to be running one of the best Ambulance Services in the country. Has got to be better than the current shambles.

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    DukDad

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • Lets hope the first to be implemented is the total cessation of, and the abolishment of the Emergency Care Assistant. Train all ECA's to at least EMT level. This would a positive step in the right direction. Also make managers who hold a Paramedic Registration to actually come out on the road and experience the real world for a change. And employ managers who can make decisions. @ DukDad. Just ask road staff in West Mids and you may get a different outlook.

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    Rolf

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • Rolf, as we know, it takes an individual between 2-5 years to train at University to qualify as a HCPC registered paramedic. In addition there is the funding gap that exists between what it costs to attend university and the salary that is paid to a student paramedic, which is one of a number barriers that the student paramedic already faces. As Andrew Morgan has found out, to his cost, there isn't a pool of out of work paramedics that are handy to call upon to fill the numbers required by EEAST and many other UK ambulance services. The options to 'poach' people from elsewhere exist but that needs a financial incentive which EEAST would be hard pressed to find. Likewise, encouraging individuals from overseas to work in the UK requires that the country they come from has similar educational and training criteria to ours and that they meet HCPC entry criteria. In reality, despite the parlous state of EEAST's finances, I suspect that there will be a 'golden handshake' introduced to encourage a certain number of individuals to join EEAST. This combined with waiting for the present tranche of student paramedics already in training to qualify may be the only realistic option available? The problem that Mr Marsh and Mr Morgan faced is the loss of large numbers of the existing paramedic cadre through ill health, retirement and people moving to other services. Introducing financial incentives for people to move here is likely to be very unpopular to existing paramedics in situ. Of course, as you have said, there is a substantial number of qualified paramedics sat in offices and other directorates masquerading as managers which in many cases could be replaced by non clinically trained staff to be released back to front-line duties. However, due to the vagaries of the service many of them rarely see a patient!

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    Bad Form

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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