East’s ambulance trust appoints new chief executive

EEAST chief executive  Dr Anthony Marsh
EEAST chief executive Dr Anthony Marsh
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The man who accused East of England Ambulance Trust bosses of not listening to front line staff’s complaints has been appointed as its chief executive.

The NHS Trust Development Authority (NHS TDA) has today confirmed that Dr Anthony Marsh will become chief executive of the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) from January 1, but he will continue as chief executive of the West Midlands Ambulance Service.

It was Dr Marsh who was tasked by the NHS TDA to carry out a review of the East’s ambulance services , which were continually failing to meet targets.

In June he made 25 recommendations and wrote: “There is a feeling across the organisation that the trust board does not listen, and that leadership does not come from board level, this can be evidenced in the fact that the board have only recently accepted that there is a shortage of front line ambulance crews within the trust yet managers state they have been raising this for some time.”

Dr Geoffrey Harris, EEAST chairman, said: “This is an important step forward for the Trust as we focus on transforming the ambulance service.“Transforming our ambulance service is going to take time, but we have made a start. We are making changes and seeing early signs of improvement. Anthony will undoubtedly help us build on and accelerate this work.”

Dr Marsh said: “During my review I met many of the ambulance crews, control room staff as well as those who work in the support functions. The overwhelming message I got from them was wanting to make the service better for patients.

“I am absolutely determined to work with the staff to continue the improvements that have been started and take them to the next level.”

He began his ambulance career in 1987 in Essex as an ambulanceman and has worked his way up. He holds an MBA and an MSc in Strategic Leadership, was awarded a Doctorate in 2012 for his work in Emergency Preparedness and is chairman of the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives.

The ambulance union Unison cautiously welcomed his appointment.

Gary Applin, Unison Branch Secretary said “Whilst we welcome the appointment of a substantive leader for the Trust, we are deeply concerned that Mr Marsh will continue to be the Chief Executive of West Midlands Ambulance Trust. The Trust faces so many difficulties that we think it should be led by someone who can devote all their attention to sorting out the mess.

“The Trust has significant governance issues. Andrew Morgan, as interim Chief Executive, has quite rightly identified the key challenges facing the organisation. However, for a long time UNISON has been calling for a permanent appointment to lead a stable executive team and we are disappointed that Mr Marsh won’t be working full time in the East of England.

“Despite this, as the union for staff in the trust we look forward to developing a positive relationship with Anthony for the benefit of our members and the public they serve.”