Falls Service pilot scheme launches in Shrewsbury

Specialist crews caring for patients who have fallen

This week sees the launch of our exciting new pilot service aimed at helping to reduce demand on frontline ambulance services, to ensure patients are seen in an even more timely manner.

Our new 24-hour ‘falls’ service has been launched from our Shropshire contract, where our trained staff can quickly attend and assist patients who’ve suffered a minor fall. Supported by the local ICB, this service is intended to drastically lower the time that service users are left lying on the floor and needing attention, while in turn helping to reduce the strain for frontline medical staff and enable them to prioritise life-threatening and high-priority category 1 calls.

Mark Rawlings, Midlands Regional Manager at E-zec, said: “We’re all aware of the current pressures that frontline paramedics are facing across the UK, and of the fact that many people who have fallen can be left for hours before being seen.

“Having to prioritise care is extremely challenging. While many people who fall don’t necessarily need to go to hospital or need medical care straight away, longer waiting times often mean that by the time they are seen, their care needs have escalated to a point of needing to be treated in a hospital or by paramedics. This pilot service aims to address this, reduce pressures, and ensure that those who need care are seen quickly.”

E-zec’s Shrewsbury hub is helping to bridge this gap, with 16 Ambulance Care Assistants (ACAs) qualified in the Falls Response, as well as being fully trained on standard lifting procedures and care.

Mark added, “We’ve invested in specialist training and lifting equipment to quickly step-in and support vulnerable service users who have suffered a fall, which will in turn help to prevent avoidable hospital admissions. Our two-person crew will attend falls, undertake a thorough risk assessment of the situation using the well-recognised ISTUMBLE assessment tool, and determine whether the patient can be supported back to their usual position, or whether they do in fact need medical attention from the frontline NHS. In the case of the latter, we can make them as comfortable as possible while waiting for NHS staff or help to transport them to the nearest hospital.”

Our specialist 4×4 vehicles also have all the necessary lifting equipment including a Mangar Elk Lifting aid – training for which was delivered by Wincare.

Wayne Spedding, Relationship Director at E-zec, commented: “We’re delighted to have launched this pioneering trial in our Shropshire bases. We truly believe that this will provide a long-term solution to the communities we serve – both those who have fallen and who may not be prioritised until their condition has escalated, as well as frontline NHS workers who are feeling the strain of such high demand.

“The service – if rolled out nationally – would significantly help to reduce many avoidable hospital admissions, and ensure those who are most in need of urgent frontline care are prioritised and cared for quickly.”

E-zec Shrewsbury has collaborated and integrated with the local Rapid Response Team via Shropdoc to introduce this trail service.

Ambulances equipped with all the latest equipment to assist with falls

Celebrating National Apprenticeship Week

To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, we’re shining a light on the benefits that apprentices are bringing to E-zec.

We’ve partnered with Basegreen Academy, an approved apprenticeship training provider in pre-hospital care, to provide colleagues with an opportunity to learn and train while also receiving on-the-job experience. 

Jack Alexander, Contract and Compliance Manager at E-zec, is currently overseeing three apprentices at E-zec’s Hereford operations. He said: “Our apprentices started in January 2023 – despite being only a few weeks in, we anticipate that this will bring huge value to the business, including in-house progression routes and staff retention.

“Successful completion of the 12-month apprenticeship will see individuals achieve a QA Level 3 Diploma in Ambulance Emergency and Urgent Care Support (RQF). The course consists of online working, practical learning, and fortnightly two-hour review meetings.”

The 6th to 12th February 2023 is National Apprenticeship Week (NAW), which focuses on how national collaborations between businesses and apprentices positively impact individuals, companies, communities and the wider economy.

Simon Pill, Head of Learning and Development at E-zec, added: “This year’s theme of NAW is Skills for Life, and that’s exactly what we’re endeavouring to provide. We recognise that the future of E-zec, and the industry, is the next generation, and so we want to support individuals however possible to provide a truly overarching insight into the industry, and a clear and supportive career path. E-zec currently has 71 live learners on the apprenticeship programme, the vast majority of these being ACAs.”

Pictured below: Sarah Young and Marvin Benjamin – both apprentices at E-zec’s Hereford Operations.

E-zec becomes a Dementia Friends’ ambassador

E-zec is enhancing its customer care in local communities by partnering with an Alzheimer’s initiative.

E-zec is a registered Dementia Friend and is supporting all of its Ambulance Care Assistants (ACAs) within the firm with additional training and education about dementia to allow them to spot the signs and symptoms, and ultimately ensure they can effectively support their communities.

Simon Pill, Head of Learning and Development at E-zec said, “We’re proud to be a recognised Dementia Friend – an organisation which aims to raise nationwide awareness and understanding of the syndrome.

“With our ACAs working in close proximity with the local community, we believe it’s an extremely valuable addition to our enhanced learning and development programme. Not only will it allow our team to be armed with all the support and information necessary to care most appropriately with dementia-related illnesses, but also boost the overall experience for our service users.”

Dementia Friends is a nationwide Alzheimer’s Society initiative, and is available for any individual who wants to help people with dementia in their community. 

“Each of our ACAs will be encouraged to register with Dementia Friends, providing them the most up-to-date information, as well as a library of resources for ongoing learning,” Simon continued. “Plus, they’ll be awarded with a Badge and Action card, which we will be wearing with pride.”

Justine Vaughan, Chief People Officer at E-zec, added: “As part of our dedication to our people, we’re always seeking new and innovative ways to enhance the learning opportunities available for our teams, all whilst ensuring we provide the very best possible care for our service users.

And, we’re excited to share the introduction of our Dementia Friends partnership with our ACAs, providing them with valuable resources and additional support in understanding dementia-related diseases. Plus, it allows them to offer more inclusive care for those within our local communities.”

For more information about Dementia Friends, or how you can get involved in your own community, visit: www.dementiafriends.org.uk.

E-zec adopts new patient safety reporting processes

E-zec is embracing change by implementing new procedures to ensure its service to NHS contracts is seamless and meets overarching objectives within the organisation.

With the NHS rolling out new reporting frameworks across the board, including Patient Safety Incident Response Framework (PSIRF) and Learning from Patient Safety Events (LFPSE), secondary care providers and trusted system partners, E-zec is adopting new processes in line with these developments and is using it as a toolkit to further enhance its own learning, quality improvement and development opportunities.

Anna Prowse, Head of Quality and Compliance at E-zec, said: “It’s an incredibly bold decision by the NHS in changing the reporting framework, but it’s exactly how reporting should be. PSIRF will dictate how as a provider we respond to an incident with LFPSE as a national and centralised system for recording and analysing patient events.

“As a secondary care provider, both are now mandatory at E-zec. PSIRF is due to be in place and embedded business-wide by September 2023 and LFPSE implementation being extended to September. The NHS have recognised that the existing framework was no longer fit for purpose, and didn’t actively work to enhance the culture of the industry – or the businesses working in partnership with it.

“PSIRF will provide immense learning opportunities for us and our Ambulance Care Assistants (ACAs) out on the road. It will provide us valuable insight and support our pillars of quality: complaints, incidents, health and safety, infection prevention and control, medicine management, and safeguarding. It will capture all feedback from service users (and colleagues) – both positive and constructive – and enable us to understand areas that need additional support, how we can prevent incidents reoccurring, or replicate great service for users in the future. All-in-all, it will enhance the service we provide, and ensure an even higher standard of care is achieved.

“But, alongside this, it promotes a just culture, which we entirely endorse at E-zec. It supports a culture of fairness, openness and learning, and allows staff to feel empowered and confident to speak up when things go wrong, rather than fearing blame. Supporting our team to be open about mistakes allows valuable lessons to be learnt so that the same errors can be prevented from being repeated. We value honestly, integrity, and the yearning to continually improve and make a difference.”

To find out more, Anna discusses this further here:

Anna Prowse on the adoption of PSIRF

Snow limits for E-zec’s PTLOs

A final Christmas wish has been granted, thanks to two Patient Transport Liaison Officers (PTLOs).

Emily Barlett and Johnathan Webb, PTLOs at E-zec Gloucester, arranged for a 40-year-old patient receiving end-of-life care to spend his final Christmas at home with his family.

Despite careful preparation, however, sudden snowfall meant that the ambulance was unable to access the gentleman’s home, and plans would have to be abandoned. But in true Christmas spirit, neighbours helped to clear the road to ensure this family could spend the festive period together.

Emily and Johnathan explained: “The day before we were due to be taking this patient home, we checked the accessibility after some heavy snowfall. Unfortunately, we found that the ambulance would be unable to travel down the road, meaning that we could no longer safely and appropriately escort this gentleman to his property. Without the snow quickly clearing, we’d have no other option than to delay bringing him home – a scenario that no one wanted.  

“We spoke to a neighbour while assessing the road conditions. They promised that they’d do all they could to get this gentleman home. And they did.

“The whole neighbourhood rallied round, with shovels in hand. Together, they cleared the road and ensured it was safe for us to drive the ambulance down his road, so that we could bring him home to his family for Christmas.”

Christopher Fox, Central Operations Support Manager at E-zec, added: “We’re extremely proud of Emily and Johnathan for their professionalism in providing the patient with dignity, care and compassion during a very stressful and upsetting time. And we’re extremely proud of their determination in ensuring this gentleman was home for Christmas.

“It’s so incredibly heart-warming to learn about the neighbourhood’s involvement. E-zec prides itself on being a service for its community, and this is a true example of this. What a fantastic achievement from all involved, that has allowed a family to spend valuable time together this Christmas.”

After the road was cleared for E-zec’s crew

E-zec PTLO recognised in Shropshire Awards

A Patient Transport Liaison Officer (PTLO) based at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital is celebrating after being shortlisted in a prestigious regional award which recognises local hospital heroes.

Steve Lovell, PTLO at E-zec Shropshire was nominated for Partner of the Year in the SaTH (Shrewsbury & Telford Hospitals) Trust Awards for his commitment to the industry, and his innovative developments to streamlining a more efficient and effective service.

Andrea Bayes, Renal Manager at E-zec Shropshire, said: “We were incredibly proud to learn that Steve Lovell was nominated in the SaTH Trust Awards, and we’d like to wish him a huge congratulations. He was recognised due to his dedication to improving the Non-Emergency Patient Transport Service (NEPTS) and aiming to make it a positive and seamless process for hospitals and service users.”

Steve previously worked as an Ambulance Care Assistant (ACA) for three years prior to undertaking his new role as PTLO, which he’s had for approximately three and a half years. E-zec took over the Shropshire contract in October 2021, and for the past 12 months, he’s been supporting the business with developing and enhancing NEPTS.

“Earlier this year we launched a new initiative at both the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) and the Princess Royal Hospital (PRH), Telford, to enhance the administrative accuracy and team efficiency, along with additional staff training”, Andrea continued. “And Steve was absolutely the driving force behind this brand-new programme – since our initial meetings back in July, he’s shown nothing but positive determination and motivation. While all involved have been integral to the success, it’s without doubt that Steve’s hard work and commitment made it possible.

“This is the first time that any NEPTS provider in Shropshire has been nominated for a SaTH Trust Award, and while it spotlights Steve’s successes and personal development, it also demonstrates some of the fantastic work that E-zec are providing within the community.” 

Individuals in the local area were invited to nominate their hospital heroes as part of the annual SaTH Trust Awards. And for the second year running, readers of the Shropshire Star were asked to identify individuals or collectives that have provided exceptional care and service and exceeded all expectations of their role within the NHS / healthcare setting.

The virtual awards ceremony was held on Thursday 17th November.

Steve added: “It was such an honour to have been recognised in this way, and I’m incredibly grateful for all who nominated me. While I wasn’t crowned the overall winner of this category, I feel incredibly privileged to have had my work commended – and to have been the first from any NEPTS provider is hugely significant, because it really highlights the importance of what we do in the community.”  

ACA Pip Duffy is dubbed King of the Crooners!

A budding singer/songwriter is providing delightful entertainment to the local Ipswich community.

Pip, an Ipswich-based E-zec ACA, often serenades patients on his ambulance, and has become known locally as the ‘King of the Crooners’.

Pip said: “I’ve been with E-zec just over 12 months, and my favourite part of the role is meeting so many new and interesting individuals. I love to chat with them, and with a personal passion for songwriting and performing, I can’t resist treating them to a tune! Not only do I love it, but it always brings a smile to their faces – and if I’m lucky, they join in, too.

“I sing at weddings, private functions, and in local care homes in my spare time – many of which we frequently transport service users to and from, so it’s lovely to see familiar faces in the front row. I’m gaining quite the fanbase.”

Pip’s long-term crewmate, Ray added: “It’s very rare that I don’t hear Pip in the back of the ambulance, singing and laughing. He’s got a fantastic voice, and it really does brighten up the day – for the patients and for us. I’m usually shouting at him for an encore.”

Pip’s Road-Based Supervisor, Carl Cheadle said: “It’s such a delight to learn about Pip’s passion for music, and how he endeavours to go above and beyond to bring joy to our service users. Not only does he give back to the community in his day-to-day role at E-zec, but he performs in local care homes, waiving any fee, instead only covering his expenses.

“We’re very much looking forward to the Christmas karaoke where Pip is performing with our Senior Operations Manager, Kym Young. We’re all patiently waiting – and desperately hoping that it’s not a rendition of Hylda Baker and Arthur Mallard’s, You’re the One that I Want. But, perhaps they’ll be the next big thing… Watch this space.”

A Very Special Delivery

ACA Josh delivers baby in car park

A newly recruited Ambulance Care Assistant (ACA) was pushed to new limits with an unusual initiation during his first official week working at E-zec.

Having only been out on the road for a matter of days, ACA Joshua Hender was posed with the stressful challenge of assisting a mother in the very final stages of labour – in the hospital car park.

E-zec may provide specialist non-emergency, bariatric, and high-dependency medical transport to patients but now we can add immediate maternity assistance to the list…

Speaking after the eventful shift Josh said: “I was sat with my ambulance partner, Andy, outside Ipswich Hospital waiting for instructions on our next job. Suddenly, a car pulled up in front of us, with a man frantically running out and shouting for help.

“We jumped out of the cab, and once we realised what was happening, Andy and the dad fled into the building to get maternity assistance. I started talking to the mother in labour, helping her to keep calm, but quickly realised that the baby was coming. Now.

“Within a matter of minutes, the baby was in my arms. I wrapped the newborn in a coat and placed her onto the mother’s chest, until the maternity team came to take over. It certainly was a very exciting first Friday shift, and a day I’ll never forget.”

Prior to working at E-zec, Joshua was a semi-professional goalkeeper for Ipswich Town, and so is no stranger to making fast-paced decisions, and making that crucial save – albeit, never before a baby.

Suffolk-based Supervisor Carl Cheadle said: “This is such an incredible story and portrays just what a valuable role our colleagues play in supporting our communities as a whole. We’re extremely proud of Joshua for his quick thinking and supporting the mother during what must have been an incredibly scary time for all.

“He truly immersed himself into the role and has demonstrated what it means to go above and beyond – a crucial part of being an ACA. And, being an ex-semi-professional footballer, mum and baby were certainly both in very safe hands! Well done to all involved, and huge congratulations to the parents, who have informed us they are all doing well.”

Suffolk-based ACA Josh delivered a baby on his third shift for E-zec

E-zec publishes its Quality Account for 2021/2022

Organisations are required under the Health Act 2009 and subsequent Health and Social Care Act 2012 to produce Quality Accounts if they deliver services under an NHS Standard Contract, have staff numbers over 50 and NHS income greater than £130k per annum.

A Quality Account is an annual published report about the quality of services and improvements offered by NHS healthcare providers.

From Mike Woodall, E-zec’s Chief Operating Officer: 

I am pleased to introduce the annual Quality Account for 2021/22. This document is both forward looking and retrospective. It sets out the work we have done over the past year to improve the quality of our care and keep patients safe and provides information on our priorities for 2022/23.

The start of this financial year saw us in the grip of a second wave of COVID with the effects of the Alpha and then subsequently the Omicron variants impacting heavily on our services and on those of our system partners.

COVID-19 has had a very significant impact on the NHS and NHS providers across the country and we have seen how it has stretched services and people to near breaking point. But E -zec Medical’s staff can be proud of how they responded and continue to keep themselves, our service users, and the community safe.

It is a remarkable achievement for this organisation that in a year of so much change and difficulty, our people have continued to improve the services that we provide and have taken great strides forward in delivering a great people, great place strategy.

Our improvement journey, continues at pace and we end this year very much looking forward to a potential visit from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the opportunity to demonstrate how far we have come

We have been ensuring that our ‘business as usual’ functions maintained the quality and safety of our services, while striving to provide the best possible response to our patients. Some of our key achievements during 2021/22 have been:

• Our continued focus on staff and service user safety

• Delivery of quality assurance work aligned to our CQC ratings

• Achieving our Right Care strategy goals

• The development of a new quality strategy using feedback from both service users and staff

• Maintenance of staff safety (RIDDOR reports) and we are proud of the extensive work we have done to protect our staff from Covid-19 workplace transition

We continue to receive positive feedback on the improvements that we are making and look forward to what we can achieve in the coming year on behalf of the people who use our services. 

E-zec Worcester rated as GOOD by the CQC

E-zec is delighted to announce that its Worcester Operations have been rated Good by the CQC following an unannounced comprehensive inspection looking into all aspects of the service.

The service was rated as good because:

• The service had enough staff to care for patients and keep them safe. Staff understood how to protect patients from abuse, and managed safety well. The service controlled infection risk well. Staff assessed risks to patients, acted on them and kept good care records. The service managed safety incidents well and learned lessons from them. Staff collected safety information and used it to improve the service.

• Staff provided good care and treatment. The service mostly met agreed response times. Managers monitored the effectiveness of the service and made sure staff were competent.

• Staff treated patients with compassion and kindness, respected their privacy and dignity, took account of their individual needs, and helped them understand their conditions. They provided emotional support to patients, families and carers.

• The service planned care to meet the needs of local people, took account of patients’ individual needs, and made it easy for people to give feedback. People could access the service when they needed it and did not have to wait too long for treatment.

• Leaders ran services well using reliable information systems and supported staff to develop their skills. Staff mostly understood the service’s vision and values, and how to apply them in their work. Staff felt respected, supported and valued. They were focused on the needs of patients receiving care. Staff were clear about their roles and accountabilities. The service engaged well with patients and the community to plan and manage services and all staff were committed to improving services continually.

Following the publication of the Worcester report, E-zec’s CEO Craig Smith was keen to reflect on it as another clear step forwards in desire to deliver the very best service to patients: “It is really pleasing to see the positive progression in our latest CQC report. Getting ‘Good’ across all five quality domains is a great achievement and is a clear inflection point of our Quality Strategy. Our core value of ‘Listening, Learning and Adapting’ is instilling a culture of unrelenting pursuit of excellence across the business. We will ensure the feedback received will create clear action plans to support our overall aspiration to deliver the very highest quality of services to our service users.  Well done to the whole team who contributed to the outcome.”

And Fay Downes, Senior Operations Manager for Worcester spoke of her pride for the team she manages:

“I have thanked them for all the hard work, efforts, support and their commitment to the contract, to E-zec and our service users. It really has been a team effort and I am so appreciative of my team.”

E-zec Worcestershire’s fleet includes 38 ambulances and has its main base in Worcester, with satellite bases in Kidderminster and Redditch. 

The CQC’s full report can be found here.