New boss of ambulance service that covers Harlow: “poor behaviour must be brought to an end”

General / Thu 5th Aug 2021 at 07:36am

A NEW chief executive taking up post at an ambulance service with high levels of sexual harassment said “poor behaviour must be brought to an end”.

Tom Abell was hired by East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) in May, soon after it went into a contract to protect patients and staff from abuse.

Since then, EEAST can no longer train apprentices, after Ofsted found some experienced “inappropriate behaviour”.

Mr Abell said he recognised “we have some major problems” adding “particularly how our people treat each other”.

“We have too many examples of poor behaviour and it must be brought to an end,” he said, on his first day in the job.

“Let me formally underline my commitment to turn this around.”

Following an inspection in June last year, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said EEAST had not done enough to ensure staff and patients were protected from abuse.

It found “continued high levels of bullying, harassment and discrimination and the organisation had failed to take adequate action to reduce this”.

Inspectors said they had received information from seven whistleblowers related to “safeguarding patients and staff from sexual abuse, inappropriate behaviours and harassment”.

Thirteen cases of sexual misconduct by staff had been reported to police, the health watchdog said.

As a result, the trust had to sign a legally binding agreement with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

In July, it emerged the trust could no longer train apprentices after Ofsted inspectors found a “significant minority” experienced “inappropriate behaviour”.

Ofsted said the trust was “too slow” in making changes at its training centre in Newmarket, Suffolk.

EEAST said it hoped to transfer its 661 apprentices to a new training provider.

Mr Abell, who was previously deputy chief executive at Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, takes over from Tom Davis, who had led the service as interim chief executive since September.

Previous chief executive Dorothy Hosein stepped down because of ill health and told staff her illnesses included a “severe bout of Covid-19”.

Mr Abell added: “Although we have many challenges, including how we respond to the incredible demand we are seeing for our services, I truly believe we have the opportunity to make our own future. 

“By working together with partners, we can be bolder and stronger.”

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