Normally, you can’t unlock a door without a key. But here at East Midlands Ambulance Service, a concerted effort to engage staff has helped us to unlock a door that until recently wasn’t quite bolted firmly shut, but certainly stuck a little at the hinges.
In the build-up to our Listening into Action (LiA) journey - and with a clear need to see some action quickly in order to build belief in LiA amongst staff - we focused on delivering some visible, impactful ‘Quick Wins’. These are based on simple, but important ideas from colleagues that could be speedily resolved for the good of the organisation.
The following examples are just some of those that have been highlighted over these initial weeks and, crucially, quickly implemented:
- Our Technicians and Emergency Care Assistants (ECAs) expressed concerns that there was no real career progression for them to step up and become Paramedics. In May 2014 we communicated a new educational pathway to them that will allow them to apply to do exactly that
- Colleagues told us they didn’t like the name ‘Investigation Officer’ for team members who investigate serious incidents/complaints – consultation was quickly set up with staff and unions and the job title changed to ‘Incident Investigator’
- Our frontline staff fed back that our Resource Management Centre which, amongst other things, assists them with rotas, overtime and annual leave, felt too ‘centralised’ to them. Each division across the East Midlands now deals with a dedicated, smaller, ‘localised’ team
- Many colleagues said they felt it was difficult to find information relevant to them in our Chief Executive’s Bulletin (weekly email). Within days of hearing this we introduced clear, succinct headlines on articles to better ‘signpost’ staff
- We heard that colleagues felt they didn’t really understand our Quality Improvement Programme 'Better Patient Care'. We now have a short film that articulates this and brings it to life.
Chief Executive Sue Noyes says:
“This initial, fast-track engagement with colleagues will soon be followed with our big round of eagerly awaited LiA Conversations. Knowing the organisation is not just listening, but acting, has given colleagues the confidence to come forward with feedback – whether it be more ‘quick wins’ or bigger challenges that will take us a bit longer, together as an organisation, to solve, improve or develop. Knowing that the tide is changing from one of 'listening' to one of 'action' is making people feel more empowered, and we look to them to pass on that confidence in the LiA way of working to their colleagues.”
Our LiA Conversations are just the beginning of our journey. Next, teams will be supported to engage 'all the right people' around the changes and improvements they want to see in their own areas. This local ownership of challenges and opportunities will be key to improving services for patients.