Chloe Smith (Con), Norman Lamb (Lib Dem) and Daniel Zeichner (Lab) accept the petition from Fraer Stevenson

Earlier this week, a group of East of England ambulance staff travelled to Westminster to deliver a petition appealing for better working conditions for road staff and to retain the services of the chief executive who supports them. Their hopes were to gain ministerial support to help persuade the Secretary of State for Health to intervene and allow them to retain Anthony Marsh longer term as their Chief Executive.

I was fortunate enough to be able to travel with them to get a better understanding of the issues.

As I sat on the minibus heading for Parliament, I listened to the conversations of the ambulance staff who had taken time out from their home lives to maintain the push for positive change within East of England Ambulance Service (EEAS). The group exchanged stories about their front line experiences and the organisation that facilitates them with all of the disgruntled passion I recall from the crew rooms of old. It was this kind of cathartic debrief which allowed under pressure ambulance personnel to offload and vent. I knew how valuable these conversations were, despite often seeming critical or negative, as a way for ambulance clinicians to feel their concerns were being heard, even if only by each other. It was how they coped with the burden of their work.

Sadly, these days the growing pressure for ambulance Trusts to perform with ever dwindling resources leaves road crews with little opportunity for such informal confessionals as they are rarely on station to meet each other. Back to back emergency calls, aggressively enforced hospital turnarounds and soul-sapping late finishes mean that individual crews are often ships passing in the night.

But hopefully today their concerns would be heard by a far more influential audience.

Given their discussions, I was a little worried that their message might get lost under a deluge of anecdotes about inappropriate emergency calls and internal politics. Fortunately, as we arrived in central London, the spokeswoman of their merry band said a few words to ensure that everyone was clear on the matters in hand. Fraer Stevenson, ambulance clinician and UNISON Branch Secretary, underlined the importance of focusing on the key issues of the petition they carried; supporting moves to offer staff greater protection from late finishes and backing incumbent Chief Executive Dr Anthony Marsh to stay in post despite pressure from the board for him to be replaced.

On first impression, Fraer cut an unusual figure as the individual at the epicentre of the struggle for staff welfare. A diminutive blonde woman with a small voice who, while having the bedside manner of Florence Nightingale, you might think would be out of her depth dealing with headstrong and determined executives. Apparently not; a steely determination to fight for what is right, whatever the cost, hides just beneath the surface.

I had only spoken with Fraer once before today, a lengthy phone conversation (after weeks of missed calls) had revealed she and I had been walking a parallel path for a long time. Concerns about East of England Ambulance had prompted me to start this blog back in 2012 after I became aware of a growing outcry among North Norfolk residents at the poor service they were getting from EEAS. Fraer was involved in much of what I went on to write about on The Broken Paramedic during that period: campaigning when staff grievances were ignored and seeking support from concerned Norfolk politicians including Norman Lamb (Lib Dem) to the battle for EEAS’s soul against a misguided executive board which eventually stepped down. The catalyst for much of that was a brave and candid stand made by staff at Cromer Ambulance station on the North Norfolk coast. I believe that the corner which EEAS is perceived to have turned is very much something for which Cromer staff deserve no small amount of credit.

Is Anthony Marsh the Right Man for the Job?

Dr. Anthony Marsh, EEAS & WMAS Chief Executive

After piecing together our shared history, I took the opportunity to air some niggling concerns I had about the purpose of her mission to Parliament. Nationally, ambulance staff are in a desperate situation and I’m unequivocally behind anything that will give crews a better chance of surviving their own careers, but why is she so convinced Anthony Marsh is worth fighting for? Since publishing my previous article backing the petition to retain his services, I’d been contacted by various parties who expressed concerns about the move, from decisions he made at West Midlands Ambulance Service to his failure to address a bullying culture allegedly present within East of England. It seemed that not everyone was as convinced as she was that he was the right man for the job.

Her reasons were manifold. Now she is UNISON branch secretary, she has a good ‘partnership’ relationship with Anthony Marsh, enabling her to push for positive changes which benefit staff, pushing for improvements to the diabolical conditions they labour under and ultimately bolstering their ability to provide a good service to the public. She believes that Mr Marsh is a good man making brave decisions to right a listing ship. She identified some of the supportive measures he’d brought into EEAS include upskilling paramedic and EMTs to band 6 and 5 respectively, saving about 100 staff from having to leave the Trust after the loss of Patient Transfer contracts (under TUPE [Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006] legislation they would have been absorbed by private providers) by bringing in a new tier of health care referral teams undertaking urgent work.

It is fair to say the role of any ambulance trust chief executive (or indeed any other senior management position) is a poison chalice. In the current target-obsessed, resource-starved climate, it is an impossible mission for anyone, but Fraer presented plenty of evidence to suggest that Mr Marsh is at least willing to factor staff needs into his strategies. The same may not be said of any replacement waiting in the wings, especially given that, due to the current period of uncertainty, many positive proposals under Anthony Marsh have already stalled and current changes threatened with reversal. Any incoming chief executive will surely be expected by the board to continue down that line.

Whatever your thoughts on Anthony Marsh’s tenure, the ground made in EEAS under his watch is at stake and I’m inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt, largely because Fraer is. I am convinced she is absolutely a force for good, someone who is prepared to stand up for staff and stand up to the less savoury aspects of ambulance culture, even to her own detriment.

Parliamentary Friends

Clive Lewis (Lab) and Gavin Shuker (Lab) listen to staff concerns.

When we arrived in Westminster, the meeting itself went well, with some encouraging dialogue taking place between the assembled ambulance personnel and the MPs who found time to escape the halls of power on the day of the Welfare Bill debate.

Gathering on the green often used by the reporting media outside Parliament, we were met by Chloe Smith (Conservative MP for Norwich North), Daniel Zeichner (Labour MP for Cambridge), Norman Lamb (Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk), and later by Clive Lewis (Labour MP for Norwich South) and Gavin Shuker (Labour MP for Luton South) all of whom were attentive and supportive, listening to concerns and supporting the petition. It was fantastic to see such positive cross-party support.

Norman Lamb talking to BBC Look East

I was particularly impressed with Norman Lamb, who I’ve always viewed as sort of a kindly uncle, but in person was far more steely. His commanding performance in front of the BBC Look East camera showed that he was a very capable man able to marshal facts from conversations he’d had moments before into what sounded like a polished, pre-prepared speech. His comments were insightful and had weight, asking ‘is it wise to lose a chief executive who has the confidence of staff and has made real progress.’ Certainly, it’s worth considering that, in light of concerns about Anthony Marsh’s other role as West Midlands Ambulance Service chief, he has still had successes, where his full-time predecessors had failed.

Thankfully, all of the MPs pledged to do what they could for the cause, with promises to write to Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, to bring the matter to his attention. I hope it’s a matter which Mr Hunt feels is worthy of his time. After all, now more than ever, he is a man who could do with the opportunity to appear supportive toward the needs of NHS staff.

Perhaps more importantly, I hope that the East of England executive board are able to see whatever influences are driving the decision to oust Anthony Marsh and to make the right choice to support the staff that make their organisation work.



Anonymous · 24/07/2015 at 09:13

That's the thing with Fraer Stevenson. She thinks she IS Unison. She also seems to think Norfolk IS the EEAS branch
My understanding is that her love and admiration for Dr Marsh, which seems to know no limits, is not shared by the whole of the Branch Committee.
That's not important though because as far as she is concerned, she is speaking on behalf of everyone.
Not exactly democratic is it Fraer?
I don't know anyone else in that photo but are they also Committee members or merely workers from Cromer station and nearby places?

Fraer Stevenson has spent the last 6 months (while being paid by the Trust not to be on the road) relentlessly campaigning for Dr Marsh to stay.
Is that REALLY her role? Next thing you know, she'll be offered another job with the Trust a bit like Kevin Risley was.

The truth is Fraer Stevenson needs Dr Marsh even more than he needs her.

Anonymous · 24/07/2015 at 09:46

I think it's worth reflecting on the often publicised achievements of Anthony Marsh.

Firstly he has an expensive "Communications Team" who constantly pump out information to the Press, public and MPs. A lot of it reads more like propaganda though and nearly all of it is in praise of the wonderful work done by Anthony Marsh.
Scratch the surface though and you will see some of it is basically lies.

They put out information that complaints under Anthony Marsh were "down" yet a simple FOI request shows that they actually went up.
Tell everyone that performance has improved yet another request shows that in virtually every category, it is worse than under his predecessors (who he has slagged off) yet they had far fewer resources than he has got.

You might remember the "Ambulance Watch" campaign that frequently told the public about failures at the Trust. One of its journalists (Adam Gretton) even won an award for pointing some these out (he came in towards the end of the campaign but still took the credit).
And where is Mr Gretton now? Yep, he's been hired at Band 5 by Anthony Marsh's Communications Team!!
Funny how the negative stories seem to have dried up now.

Anthony Marsh's predecessors were told to make £50million of cuts. He however, was able to get an extra £16million from the CCGs and made £10million of "savings" that he promised to plough back into front-line services. We are constantly told how there are "hundreds" of new staff and vehicles.
The result of this huge expenditure? Worse performance!

If you think it was bad, take a look at what has happened since July 1st after he was told the Trust couldn't keep giving millions to the private sector every year.
Performance has fallen like an absolute stone and is worse than it has ever been (apart from Red 1 calls which remain remarkably high – good old CFRs and their "estimated" on-scene times).

The fact is, Anthony Marsh's "business model" is completely financially unsustainable and he and the Board know it. He has chucked money into a quick fix that will make him look good and boost his considerable ego.
The Trust will not be able to match the current spending levels in the future but that won't matter. Anthony Marsh will have moved on by then and whoever comes in will be made to look as if they failed in comparison to him.

He also seems to make rather strange choices as to who he promotes.
Despite the multiple redundancies, he has created lots of "Assistant Chiefs" and extra Directors.

One of those was briefly his Deputy in the West Midlands. Google "Rob Ashford The Sun" and see what comes up. He must be old enough to be her Dad.
Another person who regularly finds favour was suspended by the HCPC after getting up to all sorts of naughty things. Paul Leaman anyone?

What ever did happen to the "Transformation Director", the award winning Communications Team forgot to tell anyone had started at the Trust 2 months previously? Within days the Trust put out a bizarre "myth busting" piece about how he hadn't been asked to leave previously.
And now he's gone. No press release there either.

Anthony Marsh has done some positive things yet unfortunately these are built on foundations of sand. I sadly predict that within a year (and regardless of whether he stays or not) things will be even worse than they have been.
It's a truly depressing and demoralizing prospect but please don't be deceived into thinking that Anthony Marsh is some sort of messiah.

Anthony Marsh's number one priority is (and always be) enhancing his own reputation and feeding a truly massive ego.

Mat Westhorpe · 24/07/2015 at 10:01

I'm still gathering information and building an understanding of the issues, but based on what I've learned so far from various sources, I don't think your statement is particularly accurate or fair.

Fraer has been campaigning for various issues regarding staff and patient welfare since well before Anthony Marsh's arrival and has been involved with many positive changes to legislation and beneficial initiatives. I can't speak for the internal politics of UNISON, but from my perspective (a former employee now outside of the Trust but with a 'good ear to the ground'), Fraer has done a lot of good work both with and without Anthony Marsh's support. This would explain to me why she has taken up the post of Branch Secretary rather than there being some sinister political subtext as you seem to be implying. Having met her, she strikes me as effective, passionate and knowledgeable about the issues.

That Anthony Marsh, after he took up his post, has been supportive of much of her work would explain why they have a good working relationship and it's little wonder that she would want that to continue. So working to prolong that relationship seems logical. I don't see why that should be viewed cynically if the end results are of benefit to the Trust, its employees and the service users. Especially if the alternative is a step backwards for staff welfare and a rise of the 'Essex Mafia' mentality again.

To be frank, I cannot understand the level of animosity and political undercurrents that surround this issue. It seems to me that for an organisation which should be benevolent and have all its staff pulling in the same direction, there's an awful lot of needless factionalism and political underhandedness. Things are clearly not all what they seem, but I'm not sure that Anthony Marsh is the villain in this case and I'm fairly certain that Fraer isn't.

Of course, if anybody would like to provide me with evidence to the contrary, I'd be very grateful. I can be contacted confidentially by email ( or on Facebook and Twitter's private messaging.

Mat Westhorpe · 24/07/2015 at 10:29

There's certainly a lot to take on board here, some of which I am aware of but parts which I'd certainly be interested in finding out more about. Thanks for the comment.

I can assure you that I'm not being 'deceived into thinking that Anthony Marsh is some sort of messiah', and am working hard to try to build a balanced view.

My initial impressions of the man were that he made a brave decision early on in his tenure to address the over-reliance on single-manned response cars, which was resulting in misleadingly good performance figures. Of course putting staff back on ambulances had a negative impact on the figures, but the truth is ambulance services are being woefully under-resourced and that needs to be brought to light. He should be commended for that at least and encouraged to challenge more of the wonky practises that going on (like the 'estimated' on-scene times you mention).

Giving a false impression of good performance with corner-cutting and unsustainably high staff utilisation figures isn't acceptable and Anthony Marsh's decision suggested he wasn't prepared to let that be the case. Further, as mentioned in the article, he has been supportive of various initiatives which protect staff. That has to be taken into account too.

With regard to funding, if he's proving that for an ambulance trust to be effective it costs more, I'd argue that he's showing that ambulance trusts need better funding. The alternative of acquiescing to continual cuts will just mean the staff get punished as they get pushed harder and harder to make up the shortfall. That's not acceptable. Also, if he's got the contacts to secure that extra funding, why is that a bad thing?

On another note, I can well understand why WMAS would be aggrieved with him – he made some questionable decisions over there (eg. superhubs) and then effectively became an absentee chief by taking on EEAS. But he doesn't seem to have followed the same pattern at EEAS, so it would seem he has learned from his mistakes.

I'll certainly look into the other issues you've mentioned, but I'm neither prepared to demonise nor lionise him. It's looking increasingly to me like it's a dirty business at the top of ambulance culture and I doubt anyone who operates there with any effectiveness is going to be an angel.

I'll keep an open mind.

Anonymous · 24/07/2015 at 10:58

The thing is Matt, he said he wasn't going to cover RRVs on overtime yet now he has performed a massive U-turn.
There are occasions where crews on FRVs are being split and put on cars!!

He came to the Trust saying he wasn't going to use private ambulances but another FOI request shows the Trust was regularly paying for up to 30 private vehicles a day at a cost of almost £30,000 a day, every day!
These were staffed by ECAs, some of whom couldn't even drive on blue lights. Madness.

He only stopped doing it because he was told to and it wasn't affordable.

It might be worth contacting his Communications Team and asking them for the performance figures for the last 3 weeks. They are absolutely dire and probably worse than at any other 3 week period.
This is what crews and the public have to look forward to going forward.

With the massive amount of extra resources he has been given, that can only be described as an abject failure.

Norman Lamb even told the BBC that performance in his area was "very, very poor". So what does he do? He wants the person who has presided over that to stay on.

Anthony Marsh is fond of telling everyone that he has "delivered" on his 6 priorities.
Having "delivered", he isn't being asked to account for why things are actually worse.

Anyone else would have got the boot for that, rather than have MPs and Fraer Stevenson fawning over him.

You have to wonder why the Board don't want him to stay. Maybe they see a different side to him and can see that things are getting worse and aren't sustainable.

Anonymous · 24/07/2015 at 11:38

Perhaps you could ask the Branch Secretary what she has done to tackle the "bullying culture" you mentioned in your article.
We know it exists because the Trust told everyone in 2013 about it. Subsequent staff surveys show it's still present.
The phrase "Essex Mafia" often springs up. Dr Marsh is originally from Essex and many of his promotions and appointments since he returned are of Essex managers.
I think Dr Marsh should also be asked to explain what he has done to stop the bullying culture.
After all, he can't possibly agree with it can he?

Mat Westhorpe · 24/07/2015 at 12:02

Well if nothing else, I think EEAS should get the drains up on that issue certainly. LAS recently had an independent review of bullying and harassment and EEAS might benefit from the same. If there are any connections between Anthony Marsh and the toxic elements of the 'Essex Mafia' culture, then I would hope they would be exposed. My fear is that the opposite is true and it's the 'Essex Mafia' whose interests it is in to get Marsh out.

Anonymous · 24/07/2015 at 12:16

Dr Marsh recently promoted Paul Leaman who was said to have played a part in the bullying of a whistle blower. There's a bit of a connection there.
I'm not convinced nice cuddly managers would have made it to the top in Essex when their bullying culture was in full swing.
If anyone is going to the open Trust Board meeting, it might be worth asking Dr Marsh and Sarah Boulton exactly what they have done to stop the bullying culture.

Mat Westhorpe · 24/07/2015 at 12:17

The problem I'm having is the more I learn, the less I understand. Much of what you say makes sense – short term, high profile fixes certainly generate positive media without necessarily being sustainable in the current climate. The motivation behind that is less clear – it could be argued that it's for personal aggrandisement or because that it was needed, both in terms of the public's perception of EEAS and to give staff a morale boost.

There's no way that targets can reasonably be met with year-on-year cuts without continuing to abuse the staff, whoever the chief is.

I think there's certainly a degree of 'be careful what you wish for' in this issue. EEAS has hardly had a good run of chief execs, and I'm concerned the next guy will look for the easy win by bashing staff to improve performance. That culture has to stop.

Mat Westhorpe · 24/07/2015 at 12:30

I'm thinking of attending and would consider asking some questions like that.

Anonymous · 24/07/2015 at 12:41

We don't know how many of those 700 staff actually work for the Trust. Even if it was all of them, it's still a small percentage of the 4000 workforce.

Anonymous · 24/07/2015 at 12:44

If you do go Mat (13.30) try also asking them what on earth has happened to the performance in July.

It will sure to be a bum shuffle movement!

Anonymous · 24/07/2015 at 16:05

You might want to ask what the branch committee did before Fraer came along? Rota redesign? No challenge from them there I could see. They also signed me as a student paras down the swaneey. I'm now a band 6 Para – thanks to Fraer and Dr Marsh – all I see from Fraer is integrity and bloomin hard work. She didn't take a band 6 union role when she was voted in – unlike the last 3 Branch Secs and the current Branch Chair. Well done for watching her back Matthew, and well done to Dr Marsh for seeing what we see in her. Some of the Branch Committee would love to see her gone so they can enjoy their band 6s in return for doing sweet fa.

Anonymous · 24/07/2015 at 21:27

I don't know the reality of the situation any more than you Mat. Certainly Anthony Marsh has done some of the right things, concentrating on double crewed ambulances being the most important. It is also my understanding that many RRV staff will only do overtime on RRV's so allowing overtime on RRV's means more cover. Don't know why anyone would split a crew, but that is down to operational managers.

Something that does bother me is that a lot of the ways of working such as the 'front loaded model', response time recording and even the car achieving the A19 transport time were setup by Anthony Marsh and Hayden Newton (among others) in the past. Has Anthony Marsh stopped allowing the car to 'achieve' the A19 transport time? No, he is just 'recording' shadow A19 times. Even Professor Willett uses double speak as quoted on Fraers own website;

"…we considered a revision to the definition of the A19 standard to a “conveyance response”. The current technical definition of the A19 standard states that the vehicle arriving within 19 minutes should “be capable” of transporting the patient. This has been interpreted, in some instances, such that an ambulance fast response car can “stop the clock” because, in theory, it could transport the patient. However in reality the patient has to wait for an ambulance. Changing this definition would require a full and detailed assessment of the likely clinical and operational impact of amending the technical guidance to the vehicle “that transports” rather than “is capable of transporting”. A shadow “new A19” reporting system would then need to be established promptly so local ambulance trusts could determine their current dispatch behaviour and overall performance."

So they are saying;

"This has been interpreted, in some instances,"

and then tacitly admit that is the way it was intended;

"Changing this definition would require a full and detailed assessment".

Anonymous · 25/07/2015 at 08:45

The Branch Chair would be entitled to a Band 6 post as a senior Para anyway. He would also get 25% on top of that so I don't see your point if you're claiming he is better off by not being on the road.

From what you say, you seem to acknowledge that Fraer is at odds with the rest of the branch committee.
If that's the case, is it the case that it's all of them who are wrong?

In a democracy you should represent the views of all of those you were elected to represent, not just relentlessly pursue your own view.

Personally I want to see union officials who aren't in the pocket of those who lead an organisation where a bullying culture is still rife.
That can't be right and the sooner Fraer realises she doesn't have an absolute mandate to spend a huge amount of time supporting Anthony Marsh, the better.

Anonymous · 25/07/2015 at 09:42

A question for Mat.

I note in one of your other recent articles, you were encouraging people to sign the petition started by Fraer Stevenson. (Note that's Fraer, not the Unison branch).

I am slightly surprised you would want to push that as by your own admission, you no longer work for them, although I understand you have relatives who still do.

Did you decide completely of your own volition to encourage others to vote to keep Dr Marsh or was Fraer in touch with you suggesting you might like to put a link to her petition on your site?

We know that the numbers were scraping along at 300 (out of 4000 staff) for a while but suddenly jumped to 700 in time for her to travel down to Westminster for a well publicised visit in front of the media.

Anonymous · 25/07/2015 at 09:53

The branch chairs an EMT, not a para. Looking at the photo there's quite a few branch members that went to parliament. Fraers well supported by a lot of reps, but the 'old school' branch that signed off rota redesign and sold saps down the swaneey don't seem to support her, funny that. Personally I look at what someone's achieved, since fraers been branch secretary we've had band 6/5 (she wrote that agreement) and my partner didn't TUPE because of the HCRT fraer worked hard to bring in with Anthony Marsh. Some of my ex crewmates work at other trusts and fraers pay band agreement is very well thought of and wanted in those trusts. Personally I think were lucky to have someone that's able to influence change like that. If you read the newsletters and updates fraers written a lot about bullying and the 'Essex mafia.' Inc a rewrite of policies based on casework from Essex, so it looks of me like she is helping to tackle them.

Anonymous · 25/07/2015 at 10:00

I would like to know if they were members of the branch committee, not branch members.

Do you agree she should be launching campaigns that don't seem to have the full support of the rest of the committee?
Yes or no?

Anonymous · 25/07/2015 at 10:02

Unisons regional manager was on the bbc saying they wanted Anthony marsh to stay in EEAS to continue the supportive work for members, and that they had a professional sound partnership working relationship with him. If that's not shared by the rest of branch, that's odd? There were quite a few reps at parliament (mine was). I don't get what the issue is with some people and Anthony marsh – the last few CEOs were car crashes in comparison. I guess you can't please all the folk all the time, but it seems these some serious haters out there and it seems to me there's other agendas going on.

Anonymous · 25/07/2015 at 10:14

Why would the committee not support this? On the bbc there was a regional manager and national managers from unison, and my county rep was at parliament (think there were other county reps and the h&s lead as well). Unison grew some balls when fraer came along, maybe it's showing up others without any!

Anonymous · 25/07/2015 at 11:25

Who is this "Regional manager" people have mentioned?

If it was Tim Roberts, he should know that any campaign should be supported by the committee, not just an obsession relentlessly pursued by Fraer Stevenson.

If you know Fraer, ask her if she was writing to MPs many months ago and without the knowledge of any of her colleagues demanding that Anthony Marsh should stay. Priti Patel certainly received a letter.

That isn't democracy, that's an individual giving the impression she is speaking on behalf of the whole branch when she clearly wasn't.
All sounds a bit power crazed to me.

Let us all know if she denies she did it.

Anonymous · 25/07/2015 at 11:42

Dude, you sound like you've got serious issues. Guessing you didn't sign the petition then. Any Chief that gives us band 5/6 is ok by me. Don't know who Priti Patel is? but respect to fraer for her work and being ballsy standing up for us over stuff like late finishes. We haven't had that before from unison, so she's ok by me and tons of my colleagues. Suggest you chill out mate – regional manager was on the bbc, so if you've got a beef take it up with them.

Mat Westhorpe · 25/07/2015 at 12:16

From a personal perspective, despite no longer being employed by EEAS, I have as you rightly point out every reason to want the best for the organisation, its employees, and the public it serves. Not only do I have friends and relatives who work on the front line, both myself and many members of my family live in areas covered by EEAS (particularly the under-served North Norfolk area). Additionally, I remain very concerned about the decline of ambulance services nationally, particularly the welfare of staff, which was the whole reason I started this blog.

I first heard about Fraer's efforts some months ago through my contacts within EEAS. Her positive 'Put Back the Heart' campaigning seemed well received by the handful of people I spoke to. I followed Fraer's efforts since then and from time to time shared links to her campaigns on the Broken Paramedic Facebook page and other places without any prompting.

Because it was apparent we were pushing in a lot of the same directions, I reached out to her some weeks ago to find out more about her efforts, but we kept missing each other's calls for a ridiculous amount of time. The first time we spoke was a week or so ago and I was able to get a better understanding of the kind of things she was fighting for and the part we both played in addressing the issues during Hayden Newton's tenure.

It became evident to me that she and I were driven my the same motives and she was absolutely someone who wanted to do right by the staff, the patients and the Trust as a whole and I was more than happy to support her in those efforts in any way I could.

I came to understand that because she has a good working partnership with the chief executive, she had been able to gain real traction on several issues which benefited staff. Having seen first hand the isolated bubble that senior executives tend to encase themselves in, this seemed to me like a rare opportunity and a positive working relationship which was worth encouraging. It is certainly better and more productive than the typical us-versus-them management-against-union dynamic that just sees horns being locked and nothing getting resolved.

As a result I offered to write something about her efforts to keep that opportunity alive. It's apparent from the comments on this article that there is a lot of resistance and doubt around the issue, but I'm struggling to understand why there is animosity toward Fraer. Antipathy toward Anthony Marsh I can understand to a degree, it goes with the territory and his track record and history does raise some questions. So I can see why some may be less than convinced by his motives, but Fraer seems to be doing all the things I'd hope for from a union branch secretary.

With regard to your concerns about the petition signatories, the petition to retain Anthony Marsh was at over 500 signatures when I published my piece (I made a mental note because I was curious to see if my article would have any impact). I don't have any figures on the composition of my readership, but I do know that many of my former colleagues at EEAS read it, so I would hope that any impact I may have had would largely have come from them. I know from my own experience that engaging with these kind of initiatives often takes a back seat for operational staff who just want to get their shifts done and go home to forget ('union stuff? I'll read it later, I need a break'), so I felt that providing an alternative means of reaching them was a good thing to do.

Anonymous · 25/07/2015 at 12:45

"Dude"? You type like a child.

I would suggest that with less than 20% of the workforce signing her petition, your assertion that "tons" of your colleagues are right behind her is a bit optimistic. Mind you, we don't know how many of those 700 signatures were from people who even work for the ambulance service.

Priti Patel is a Tory MP. That's the party who thought we were worth a 1% over the past 5 years.
As I said, if you know Fraer, ask her if she went behind her colleagues' backs to give the impression she was talking on behalf of the whole committee / membership

As for Fraer standing up over late finishes: "Anthony Marsh, our Chief Executive, has given his support to address the number one stressor of staff – late finishes, although this has yet to be actioned"

Great result there then.

Anonymous · 25/07/2015 at 12:53

By your own admission, you said you weren't aware of all the goings on at the Trust (and why would you be?)

You did know however that the bullying culture that seems to have an "Essex" element hasn't gone away and that Anthony Marsh has promoted some with rather dubious pasts since he came here. These are people he has known very well and unless he has had his head in the sand, he would have known what they have got up to.
What sort of message does that send to staff when the previous Board said bullying would not be tolerated?

Your blog has been excellent and gives staff an opportunity to sound off!

I just don't think you should have thrown your weight behind Fraer's crusade without being more aware of some of the other issues that still exist at the Trust and in some cases, seem to be getting worse.

Mat Westhorpe · 25/07/2015 at 13:20

I hear your concerns and am doing what I can to gain a better understanding.

I can say that I know a lot more than I am able to write about and have plenty of material which supports my views and my reasoning, but I find myself in a position of responsibility to maintain the confidence of my sources.

What I cannot get an accurate grasp on is all the factionalism within EEAS and the various representative and regulatory bodies. It's a bottomless rabbit hole and I don't think anyone has a full grasp of the nuances. There comes a point where I have to speak out as best I can on what I do know. If I am proved wrong, I will gladly hold my hand up to that.

What I am acutely aware of and have been consistently is the ongoing pressure on staff caused by the conflict of all of the above. Fraer has been brave enough to challenge this insidious and fragmented culture and put her neck on the line in an effort to stand up for staff. I think that should be commended. I remain unconvinced by the motivations behind those who level criticism at her. Surely she represents an comparatively effective figurehead that staff and UNISON as a whole should get behind. Why wouldn't they? I've yet to see a convincing argument that her activities are in any way detrimental.

Anonymous · 25/07/2015 at 13:53

Excuse me for butting in but no one seems to have noticed that at least 3700 employees couldn't be bothered to vote to retain chiefy.
If he was doing such a fabulous job, they might have decided to record their appreciation.
Maybe Unison should be paying more attention to the vast majority.
Has the GMB launched a similar campaign to keep chiefy?
I'm also not sure why this fraer is so dead set against anyone else coming in on a full time basis when she doesn't know who they are or what they might stand for.
Just a few thoughts….

Anonymous · 25/07/2015 at 15:54

So the number 1 stressor for staff has the support of the CEO but he hasn't / can't / won't do anything to change that?
Is it too late to sign the petition asking him to stay!?

Anonymous · 25/07/2015 at 16:40

Shortly after Anthony marsh and fraer announce they are jointly working on late finishes the mail on Sunday published a damning article aimed at stopping it in its tracks – after someone at board level allegably leaked their concerns. Then the board swiftly puts out an advert for a new CEO. Smells a bit mafia like to me. Bet some of the commentators on this page have violins and headless horses. Stay strong unison folk who are standing up and fighting for us. Band 5/6, policy changes to tackle 'Essex' casework, protected time for VDI, put back the heart campaign over 1500 staff took part in, nxt stop leading the way nationally over late finishes. No wonder the mob are stirring. Fraers a legend – faced down storey at Cromer – yes she's small, but she has a lions roar 😉 she's campaigned in North Norfolk for years, and I've no doubt she'll keep campaigning for staff.

Anonymous · 25/07/2015 at 16:46

I don't understand why some people are so anti Anthony marsh? Things have got better since he's been in EEAST. There's a way to go, but saps, vehicles, up skilling frontline staff, band 6 for paras, not sure what else everyone wants to see in 18 mnths?

Anonymous · 25/07/2015 at 16:50

My county lead rep went to London with fraer and co, I'm glad they did, someone needs to stand up and be counted. If people on here don't like that – get involed and make changes yourself instead of trying to bring down those that are trying.

Anonymous · 25/07/2015 at 17:15

"You type like a child?" Really? Do I? Are you watching me type?! Have the mafia infiltrated our homes now?! They. Are. Watching. Us. Think you just identified yourself "dude."

Anonymous · 25/07/2015 at 19:17

EEAST went into massive decline when Chris Carney and subsequently John Scott left. Successive CEO’s have presided over this shambles of a trust until Anthony Marsh was asked to step in. The problem we have is that many of the middle managers who agreed with the strategy of previous CEO’s are still in post and some have gained promotion to board level. These managers still have an antiquated agenda and the block to that is Anthony Marsh, therefore there is no desire from the board to keep him.
To be clear without Fraer Stevenson we would still have a director of ops who would have pushed through further detrimental changes. We would have been a foundation trust or the first private ambulance trust within the UK. Fraer has taken up the baton many of us have been wielding for many years without success because of apathy from the staff and a reluctance of previous Unison branch officials to upset the apple cart.
The only reason I can see for negative comments about Fraer are from those with agendas to push such as managers who want to see Marsh gone and Fraer discredited or some Unison officials that would rather Fraer be pushed out of office so they can protect their little empires.
Fraer Stevenson is without doubt on the side of staff and everything she does is for our benefit and no benefit to herself other than having the satisfaction she is doing the right thing. We are lucky to have Fraer; she has the biggest balls in the trust. She could easily find another role to suit her talents but chooses to stick up for those who can’t, won’t or are afraid of the repercussions of speaking out.
Matt keep up the good work, you have brought a regional issue to a whole new audience in a well written unbiased way.

Anonymous · 25/07/2015 at 22:00

Anthony Marsh is a bit like Marmite, you either love him or hate him.

I can see both sides of the 'argument'. Firstly if Fraer is fighting to keep Anthony Marsh but Anthony Marsh has no intention to stay much longer (I have heard NHS England mentioned) or he is replaced where does that leave Unison and Fraer?

If he stays but turns out to be the problem some believe how do you get shut of him now he has been elevated by 'popular support'? Be careful what you wish for.

EEAST is all of us, not just one person just as Unison is all of its members not just one person or even the committee. Not all of the previous Chiefs were bad, the trust was beginning to turn around and had a plan before Anthony Marsh and one particular troublesome Director of Ops and most of the Exec team had already been moved on, partly due to Fraer and this blog.

On the other hand Anthony Marsh has done a lot and obtained additional funding in a short space of time.

As Mat has already pointed out Fraer has also placed herself under fire and done a lot of good work long before Anthony Marsh appeared on the scene. Many other Unison committee members have also previously done good work and continue to do so prior to this current 'in-fighting'. Only time will tell if Fraers' public support of Anthony Marsh is a wise move or not. One thing for sure it will be very difficult for anyone to undo agreements already reached.

I have no reason to question Fraers motivation, I believe she is trying her best for her members and has certainly achieved a lot by jaw jaw jaw instead of war war war. The pessimism I have is due to the workload, constant lack of funding, training and resources when call volumes increase and staff continue to leave due poor working conditions and reduction in pay and pension. Only significant Government funding can prevent the collapse we are already experiencing every day. Maybe this is what we should all be working together on.

As for Mat encouraging people to sign the petition to keep Anthony Marsh, I have no problem with that, its entirely up to the individual (I didn't because I don't think it will make a difference either way and I don't like some of the managers and directors he has appointed or some of his previous history).

This is the only blog available where we can communicate anonymously and freely and it is good to read all sides of the debate even if we may disagree.

Thanks for the opportunity Mat and keep up the good work.

Anonymous · 26/07/2015 at 10:45

Good piece.

There are some things that Fraer / Anthony Marsh have agreed (or are trying to agree) that will prove problematic.

I keep hearing about Band 6 for Paras and that has to be a good thing. The trouble is, that it was never properly costed long term and will not be affordable. This could run into millions a year although Marsh will be long gone before then so he won't have to worry about that.

Basically the Band 6 thing is ripping up the A4C agreement. You aren't supposed to be able to just randomly decide you are going to reclassify posts as anyone who was around when it first came in will know.
Are staff really being given large numbers of extra skills and training because from what I see, hardly any training other than normal CPD training isn't taking place?

I see why he has done it and staff aren't going to complain but it isn't sustainable.
At some point, someone will point out how much it is costing and that "savings" that will hit us all will have to take place in order to fund it.

Several of the stated aims were to improve morale and retain staff. Anyone who has seen the huge spike in workload since the loss of the private crews will be feeling the strain and this isn't going to get any better. It would also appear according to Unison that we are still losing twice as many staff as other Trusts.

I'm also uncomfortable about the latest late finish proposals Unison are trying to push through.
Ask yourself this, if one of your family was having a heart attack or had been knocked over, would you REALLY accept it knowing that a crew who could be sent, wouldn't be as they were in their last hour and you knew that the oncoming crew wouldn't go out for another 15 minutes anyway?
That could be up to a total of 75 minutes.

There is no way that would or should be tolerated and believe me, I'm as pissed off about late finishes as you must be.

Anonymous · 26/07/2015 at 19:53

Some other ambulance trusts during the AFC process had already assessed techs in band 5 and paras in band 6 (where they should be because they accrue the points under A4C) yet it is only EEAST who are "ripping up the A4C agreement" by placing them in their rightful band?

Also, you are saying that ours is the only trust where paying them their rightful salary "will not be affordable/sustainable"? How else are you going to attract and retain staff when others are paying more?

I accept that you may be uncomfortable with the late finish proposals but appalling and illegal working conditions are also unacceptable, have resulted in more staff leaving and will mean there are no crews on duty to send to a member of my family (more likely me) having a heart attack or who had been knocked over. Other trusts already have these late finish plans in place, why is EEAST the only trust where it can't work?

We need to be improving working conditions to attract and retain staff not make conditions worse as you appear to be proposing.

Anonymous · 26/07/2015 at 21:40

I'm not proposing making "conditions worse".
Can you list all the other Trusts who have got Paras in Band 6?

Also what should happen to your CCPs and ECPs? Do they remain in Band 6?

I'd also like to know what these illegal working practices you refer to are.

Anonymous · 26/07/2015 at 22:26

Lots of questions that suggest a lack of understanding regarding the issues. Fatigued staff working past their finish time are a danger to themselves, patients and other road users.
The groups of staff that usually make reference to being "uncomfortable" about an end of shift policy are managers seeing the potential for worsening stats and EOC staff who get to go home on time.

Anonymous · 27/07/2015 at 07:18

I did ask questions but note you didn't provide any answers.
Again, what are these "illegal" working conditions you refer to?

I can assure you that I am definitely not management or HEOC staff. Sorry for feeling "uncomfortable" about very ill patients not getting a DSA or RRV for over an hour because they happened to have their heart attack at the wrong time of day. I would also feel uncomfortable about being the clinician who has to go to that patient and apologise about the avoidable delay.

The simple "solution" from management, MPs and the press could be "Why don't you do 8 hour shifts instead if you're that knackered after 12?"

I'm just stunned that they haven't pressed that and as someone who has worked those in the past, a reintroduction of 8 hours would be a nightmare but one that is hard to argue against if you keep saying how tired you after 12.

Anonymous · 27/07/2015 at 09:02

I forgot to also add, if he is working for the staff and looking out for them, why did he push through a new lease car policy for management with no consultation so that it was for the benefit of management…………go from one policy where it sees managers pair a fair contribution to their blue light personal lease vehicle to one where they pay little or no contribution for a top of the range BMW, Mercedes, Audi or range rover??
This is a man that is directing all available resources to front line?? I think not!! And I know for the fact that this was something Anthony personally put on the table and enforced its adoption in a very quick turnaround!!

Do a FOI on the managers cars………….Its sounds like a millionaires car showroom!! And next ask how much they personally contribute…….pennies!

Anonymous · 27/07/2015 at 09:08

My first comment didnt post for some reason.
Get him out!!!

What has he actually done for the trust?? Nothing apart from promote his friends and put people in roles that he has made up to surround him with 'Yes' men!

The front line staff do great work, and his answer to keep them quiet is promote them to band 5 EMTs and band 6 Paras – not actually sorting out the issue but instead trying to keep the noise down. None of which has been costed and can be afforded by the trust. Oh and his answer to that – Reduce back office?! When a benchmarking review shows EEAST to be one of the most efficient and low cost support services (except that of his now personal communications team that is ever growing!!)

He just pushed his won ideas through and listens to no one he is a bully. He gets his buddies / Essex boys / Asst Chief officers (all of which are the same people!) to do his dirty work so he looks like the wonderful Dr Marsh?!

Get him out!

Anonymous · 27/07/2015 at 14:46

Anonymous @ 26 July 2015 at 22:40 and 27 July 2015 at 08:18

How about I reduce your salary, so you would argue "I am not proposing I would be making your conditions worse"? More people leaving, less joining and more missed breaks/late finishes would not be making your conditions worse? Most staff are "uncomfortable" in fact very distressed that some very ill patients currently are not getting a DSA at any time of day or night because of lack of staff because current working conditions (including bullying and condescending sickness reviews) are not attracting staff to stay or join. Improving working conditions is a priority. How often do you think it occurs that someone is sitting around able to attend a call at the end of their shift at the moment? Making conditions worse will only reduce the number available and result in longer delays anytime.

As for other Trusts with Paras in band 6 or indeed Techs in band 5, you can easily look that up yourself, for example it took me less than a minute to find that YAS (not even a high cost area) have Ambulance Practitioner Specialist (Techs) in band 5 and Ambulance Practitioner Advanced and Senior Paramedic (I don't think they call them 'senior' because they are older!) in band 6. Most of the Trusts term band 6 paramedics as Senior Paramedics. No I'm not going to list them all.

CCPs and ECPs should be at least in band 7. A lot of the ECPs have already left to earn far more money in urgent care anyway.

The illegal working conditions I refer to are mainly referring to health and safety breaches but causing ill health, injury, stress (and then not reporting it under RIDDOR so your statistics don't look bad) and treating your workers as little more than slaves because you are an emergency service and bullying and corrupt disciplinary processes as far as I know are illegal and certainly grounds to win a case for constructive dismissal at employment tribunal.

Your later suggestion of 8 hour shifts would also cause longer waits as you will require 3 breaks over a 24 hour period (another half hour unavailable) instead of the current 2 breaks for 12 hour shifts. Also you add another shift change period in 24 hours resulting in even more downtime during change over and crews returning for shift finish. The suggestion of 8 hour shifts is often made by you managers during negotiations as a scare tactic but in reality it scares you more due to the reduced cover it would cause.

It was not my reply to you @27 July 2015 at 08:18 but I agree with what is stated.

Anonymous · 27/07/2015 at 19:26

In response to the OP 26/7/15 @11.45.
In contrast to the above which should provide the answers to your questions, your post lacks insight regarding front line A&E work. You have obviously gained some informaton but don't know the full story. The terminology is completley wrong for anyone that has any involvement as a clinician. Anthony Marsh reduced back room staff for all the right reasons and has worked with Fraer to improve the conditions of frontline staff and therefore the service we provide to our patients. There is still some way to go though and the only way for the job to be seen through to completion is for Marsh to stay. When looking why we continue to have problems look no further than managers that have empowered other managers / staff of what is in essence a call centre (EOC) to influence the day to day running of the trust rather than simply dispatching the vehicles.
What I am "uncomfortable" with is that uninformed people make sweeping statements about working conditions. What do you propose to do with all the new intake of staff that have a projected career life span of 5 – 7 years before they burn out due to the late finishes and exessive work load?. Getting rid of Marsh is not the answer to that.

Anonymous · 27/07/2015 at 21:03

What "terminology" is wrong?

I have well over 20 years service and all working on DSAs or RRVs.

So I'm wrong because I think it's unacceptable to push through proposals that could leave Red2 calls uncovered when there is a resource available?

If you think it is okay to sit on station knowing someone's having an MI or stroke just round the corner then you're in the wrong job. It's not my fault you seem an uncaring selfish individual who I doubt has got more than 10 years experience.

Anonymous · 27/07/2015 at 21:23

I'm not suggesting or advocating 8 hour shifts. I did those over 20 years ago and know that it feels like you never seem to get any proper time off.
I'm just stating that if we keep banging on about 12 hours and how tiring they are, then the "logical" response from others will be "Well work shorter shift then".

You can see that can't you?

If working conditions are "illegal", what are Unison doing about that?

As for naming all the other Trusts that pay Band 6 for Paras, I honestly don't know who else does it. You seem to be suggesting you know but can't be bothered to share that knowledge.
Please educate us all as to who else pays these rates.

Only an idiot would think I don't want us to get as a high a banding as possible. I just don't think it is financially sustainable going forward. I also think Marsh knows that but doesn't give a shit as he won't have to deal with the aftermath when / if the plug does get pulled on the scheme.

Anonymous · 27/07/2015 at 21:32

Then with your vast experience you should know better.

Anonymous · 28/07/2015 at 08:49

To (@22.32) You'd be better off leaving and letting someone who would give a toss about his or her patients join and have a go.

Anonymous · 28/07/2015 at 09:09

What on earth makes you think the Trust (with or without Anthony Marsh) actually give a toss about the welfare of their staff?
Anthony Marsh may "support" Unison's proposals over late finishes but he hasn't done anything about implementing it and almost certainly never will.

I don't know about you but late finishes aren't my "number 1 stressor".
My number 1 stressor is the fact that I (like virtually every other person I know) is hammered all day, every day and with little chance at all to try and have some downtime in between jobs.

Why doesn't Marsh get rid of the incredibly expensive HALOs that would be far better off being on the road and helping their colleagues / patients rather than following staff round A&Es like some creepy stalkers?

Also, where is the actual benefit of these "hundreds" of extra staff and vehicles Marsh and his propaganda team keep telling the media and MPs about?
I don't know not what it is like in your area but we seem just as busy and if anything, performance is worse lately than it ever has been.

That's not success by Marsh, that's a bloody failure especially when you consider the millions of extra funding he was given. Will that same money be available next year and the one after that because if it isn't, the changes he has introduced will prove to be unsustainable?

If he had any sense, he would realise that June 2016 was as high as performance was going to get and that this was the time to walk away before it really goes down the pan. That way he could smugly sit back and tut loudly to himself when the new person came in and was made to look a relative failure.
He should also realise that for whatever reason, his Board don't seem to want him.

Marsh has always got his eye on the next thing and although he may want to try and improve things here, I still believe his number one priority is doing so in the hope of enhancing his own reputation.
I think the real reason he doesn't want to go yet is because he knows he hasn't been the wild success he hoped to be (and that no doubt he was telling everyone else he was going to be).

I have no idea who might come in and they may well be worse from a staff morale point of view but at the moment, none of us know that and neither does Fraer Stevenson.

Anonymous · 28/07/2015 at 09:11

Should be "June 2015"

Anonymous · 28/07/2015 at 13:42

Some of these comments are really worrying.

Why are there so many personal comments about Fraer? The trip to Parliament and the campaign about reducing late finishes were both signed off by the whole Branch Committee. From the pictures there were at last 3 other Branch Officers present – the Essex County lead, Norfolk County Lead and Health and Safety Officer. The trip to Parliament meant that the branch engaged direct with 5 local MPs (3 x Labour, 1 x Lib Dem, 1 x Conservative). Isnt this exactly what a union should be doing? Identifying issues that have a negative impact on members' work and trying to do something about it?

The issue around late finishes is tricky and is about balancing patient risk and staff welfare. Surely the biggest threat to patient safety in any ambulance trust is not having enough staff in the right vehicles in the right places. Staff turnover rates have rocketed at EEAST this calendar year – and more experienced EMTs and Paras have left than ever before. The 100s of new staff recruited cant keep up with the exodus. Im glad the union is trying to do something about it.

Anonymous · 31/07/2015 at 13:26

I thought the trip to Parliament was Fraer demonstrating that less than 20% of the workforce had signed a petition wanting Dr Marsh to stay (although obviously not all those signatories might actually work for us).
Was that mission signed off by the branch?

Anyway, it sounds like they have identified a successor so we'll have to wait and see.
Personally I don't want Unison to metaphorically get too cosy in bed with any CEO.
It's never healthy as you're sure exactly where they've been, what they've been up to or whether they've been cheating on you behind your back.

Anonymous · 31/07/2015 at 23:34

Some of the comments on this page are shameful. Well done to Fraer and her branch committee that support her. We're a better place because of the work you do and looking at this page, it's not easy. Thank you Matt for your support of our trust.

Anonymous · 31/07/2015 at 23:45

I'm sensing some chips on shoulders behind the comments on this page. Agree with your comment, shameful! Rock on Fraer 🙂

Anonymous · 01/08/2015 at 12:20

The negative comments re the petition are without basis. There is a massive silent majority that won't sign anything or speak out for a multitude of reasons, the fact is that this petition is unprecedented. Numbers can be used to argue a case for anything, does a number of people leaving the trust, say 300 for example (I don't know the exact number) mean that the rest aren't in the process of looking or applying for jobs and are over the moon with the working conditions?
The negative comments are intended to provoke a response and to attempt to discredit, its a dirty war of words that is being played out in the media also which is more than likely intended to provoke public outcry.
Don't give up if you're prepared to speak out and improve your working conditions, don't be put off by the war of words, I suspect it will get far worse.
Fraer is fantastic, love her lots.

Anonymous · 02/08/2015 at 21:51

1500 people responded to a Unison survey asking which members of the Trust Board were trusted by staff.
Less than half that number signalled theit support for Marsh and that's despite Fraer campaigning on his behalf for months and her ( not the branch's) petition being pushed on here.
Take the hint and realise that maybe Marsh isn't that popular or perhaps people couldn't give a toss one way or the other if he stays or goes back to his other job.

Anonymous · 02/08/2015 at 22:25

If you're going to quote figures please put them into context by providing info such as how many staff trusted the board and their Locality Director. I think they came out far worse than trust in marsh. Once he goes then those board members will have free reign, then I feel we are doomed.

Anonymous · 07/08/2015 at 12:30

Do you know if anyone other than Fraer actually collated the results?
My understanding is that Marsh gets others to do his dirty work or take the blame when something goes wrong.

Anonymous · 10/08/2015 at 19:42

Anthony Marsh has now left the building.

The new Interim is Sandy Brown – Ex-West Midlands under Marsh and Ex-Essex under….

Yep Marsh!!

Anonymous · 13/08/2015 at 22:25

Hope everyone at EEAST is looking forward to their new chief from the ambulance service chief exec merry-go-round, Robert Morton who resigned from the South Australian Ambulance Service in January after 18 months just prior to a "health shake-up report directly affecting the ambulance service".

Before that he resigned from National Ambulance Service Ireland after 2 years at the helm.

Interviewed when he took the job with SA Ambulance he said "he believed his experience leading change in the emergency services during the recession was a key reason he was approached for the role".

Let's see what he can do with no money or crews?

"He said using “what we have in a smart way”, including treating more people at home and providing alternatives to taking everyone to hospital emergency departments was one way to end hospital ramping, where ambulances queue with non-urgent patients because EDs are full."

Wait till he finds there are no 'alternate pathways' because of cuts to social care and we have no ECP's left to treat patients at home, paramedics are not trained or qualified to leave patients at home and most of us have not received any training for years.

'Mr Morton also told the Echo he thought he was recruited for the SA job due to his style of leadership, track record of change management and the experience of coming from a difficult economic climate".

A theme is emerging here.

“I’ve got a lot of experience in terms of delivering change in the health service against a background of austerity, which is obviously something Australians are not used to or certainly haven’t been used to up to now,” he said.

The most worrying bit for EEAST crews,

“It’s fair to say in terms of the economy there are a number of challenges … and that’s going to mean we have to get better and smarter at how we manage our resources.”

Oh no, it's Storey again, it can all be solved by working "better and smarter".

Rant over! Those comments were made Mr Morton over 2 years ago when he joined SA Ambulance, hopefully he can do better now.

Unless he can magic up some money for paramedics and training and somehow make EEAST a pleasant place to work I wont be cancelling my new job interview just yet.

Anonymous · 14/08/2015 at 13:36

Worrying isn't it, step back a few years and it's a re-hash of Newton & Storey. We can look forward to more of the same old PR from managers saying "its going to be different this time".
Give up any hope of resolving the late finish problem, now we have a "trial" during which we can "volunteer" to make ourselves late off. It's going to be a very comptetive jobs market out there.

Anonymous · 17/08/2015 at 01:17

Sandy Brown. I faced that horrible excuse for a man down at an Employment Tribunal I was representing in. If he says good morning, check your watch, and look outside. There is a very good chance it is not morning, and he is lying.

Anonymous · 19/10/2015 at 19:18

WMAS bod here; You'd have got loads more sigs on your petition if you'd have sent it round West Mids; We were hoping he'd stay away, the toxic, autocratic, nepotistic, egomaniac!

Anonymous · 20/03/2016 at 11:43

There have been some interesting developments with a freedom of information request that EEAST has been avoiding for some time regarding Paul Leaman.

If you recall Paul Leaman who is a close friend of Anthony Marsh was director of operations for Essex Ambulance Service and later made assistant chief ambulance officer for EEAST along with two other close friends of Anthony Marsh, this was in spite of the fact that he had previously been found guilty of misconduct by the HPC and suspended from the register for bullying and collusion to purchase ambulance supplies from a friend or relative. He was also made manager of an air ambulance charity by Marsh. Paul Leaman 'retired' from EEAST in October 2014 just before the CQC regulation of 'fit and proper person test' for directors came into operation in November 2014 and would have excluded anyone from such a position in the NHS if they had previously been found guilty of misconduct. The above freedom of information request specifically asked "does the Trust currently use any companies that employ Mr Leaman after he left last year?"

The answer was;

"We believe so, however this was not a factor in deciding to use any company that we work with".

"We BELIEVE So" ? "Any company that we work with"? WTF sort of non-answer to a freedom of information request is that? Either they know or they don't, why are they skirting around the answer? I notice one of the jobs on Paul Leamans' Linkedin profile is Associate Director Operational Partnerships EEAST, hopefully this is referring to his old job and not an attempt to drive a coach and horses through the CQC fit and proper person regulations. There is a bad smell around all these 'jobs for the boys' and 'consultant' appointments. It's about time there was an investigation into the amount of public money that has been spent on all these 'mates' and the companies that these 'mates' work for. Also what is the relationship with the occupational health provider PAMs?

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