Agenda item

South East Coast Ambulance Foundation NHS Trust (SECAmb) Care Quality Commission (CQC) report


7.1       The Committee considered a report providing an overview of SECAmb’s progress in its Improvement Journey following the findings of its 2022 CQC report, which led to a rating of inadequate in the well-led domain.

7.2       The Committee asked what the current rates of staff turnover and sickness were.

7.3       Matt Webb responded that SECAmb’s annual rolling turnover rate was 18.2% against a target of 10%. Although retention issues were sector-wide, SECAmb was investing heavily in improving leadership visibility and exit interviews to understand what could be done to improve staff retention. Since the pandemic there had been a significant increase in staff citing burnout and exhaustion as reasons for leaving. As part of its improvement journey SECAmb had appointed a Programme Director for People and Culture whose role was to implement the People and Culture Strategy that included aiming to improve staff wellbeing and Freedom to Speak Up processes. Other work had been done to improve rotas and reduce the burden on staff.

7.4       The Committee asked how staff were being engaged in SECAmb’s Improvement Journey, what feedback had they received from staff since it began and how the bullying culture identified in the CQC report was being addressed.

7.5       Matt Webb explained that SECAmb is actively communicating with staff on how concerns that they had raised were being addressed. A challenge for SECAmb as part of its improvement journey was that the nature of the CQC report required the organisation to make a number of regulatory improvements. However, having improved in those regulatory areas SECAmb was now better placed to address cultural issues. Staff and unions were engaged to help feed staff views into a five-year strategy which will make any improvements sustainable in the long term. SECAmb has also been working with Healthwatch to make sure patient views are also taken into account.

7.6       The Committee asked if there would be value in SECAmb running its own staff survey in order to track improvements.

7.7       Matt Webb explained that the work on leadership visibility was a more effective way of gaining staff feedback, as the visits were targeted and scheduled and allowed for a dialogue between frontline staff and the organisation leadership. Staff feedback from these visits had been positive as staff felt they were being heard and ensured there was more direct feedback than would otherwise be received through an online survey. SECAmb was also trialling engagement software that focused on smaller teams to provide more granular detail on staff views.

7.8       The Committee asked how many SECAmb managers were yet to complete a sexual safety workshop.

7.9       Matt Webb answered that the training was mandatory for all managers and leaders in SECAmb, and the uptake had been very high with more than half (70% of managers) already having attended one. Ray Savage added that the fact the course was externally led had been beneficial for ensuring there was no unconscious bias involved.

7.10     The Committee asked whether SECAmb had schemes that allowed staff to learn about the organisation more widely (e.g. quality circles).

7.11     Matt Webb answered that the paper outlined SECAmb’s quality assurance framework, which ensured clinical quality leads and senior leadership were undertaking quality assurance visits across all operational sites. These visits were to ensure regulatory compliance but also to hear feedback and concerns from staff, and share knowledge and learning across the organisation.

7.12     The Committee asked when SECAmb expected to come out of the Recovery Support Programme (RSP).

7.13     Matt Webb answered that SECAmb was confident it would be out of the RSP by the end of the financial year, but added that there were some benefits from being in it such as having an NHSE Improvement Director. In order to leave the RSP it was vital for SECAmb to have its five-year strategy in place and the final draft of this was expected to be agreed in December 2023.

7.14     The Committee RESOLVED to:

1) Note the report; and

2) Request a further update on improvements made since the SECAmb CQC report for the December HOSC.



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