Sue Tucker, aged 49, has joined North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) as strategic head of the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, helping patients with their medical emergencies as well as anyone who is unsure which service to use.
In 2016/17 we answered more than one million emergency 999 and NHS111 calls. NHS111 call operators handled 95,142 calls in December alone.
As well as call operators, the EOC also includes a dispatch team, who were responsible for dispatching 380,000 emergency ambulances and arranging over 700,000 patient transport journeys in the last year, as well as a clinical assessment service, offering expert advice from a range of clinicians, including paramedics, nurses and GPs.
With the support of the clinical assessment service, NEAS was able to treat and discharge 24,000 patients with telephone advice last year without the need of an ambulance.
Sue, who will be responsible for ensuring NEAS delivers exceptionally high levels of performance, excellent clinical standards and levels of patient satisfaction, joins NEAS after four years working in the Channel Islands as a senior officer for the States of Guernsey in the Office of the Committee for Health and Social Care.
With an extensive medical and managerial background, Sue qualified as Registered General Nurse in the south west, beginning her career in an acute hospital across a range of specialities before moving onto the role of nurse advisor in an early NHS Direct pilot site, providing healthcare advice and information on the telephone, which has now been replaced with NHS111.
This was quickly followed by moving to the walk-in centre team at the Department of Health where she supported the national walk-in centre roll out across 50 different sites. It was in this role that her interest grew in clinical decision support systems and the use of technology to support clinicians to deliver effective healthcare.
With this in mind, Sue spent 13 years working with the NHS Pathways team, where she was able to oversee the roll out of the NHS Pathways System right from the initial system design stage and piloting all the way through to the national roll out.
It was through this work that Sue was first introduced to NEAS. Having supported the Trust to be the first ambulance service to pilot the NHS Pathways system, Sue returned to work with the NEAS team on the Single Point of Access project, which went on to become the NHS111 service we have today.
Throughout her career, Sue has also developed her knowledge and skills in programme management, procurement and contract management, which will all hold her in good stead in her new role.
Sue has recently relocated to Newcastle from Guernsey and husband Simon who has lived there for 46 years, will soon be following her to the north east with her four pet animals in tow. She said: “I’m genuinely delighted to be joining the team here at NEAS and having been given the opportunity to work within an organisation that has such a strong reputation for quality and always wanting to push the boundaries to improve services it delivers. This new role offers me a wealth of exciting challenges, all of which I am looking forward to”
Yvonne Ormston, NEAS chief executive, said: “It’s fantastic to welcome Sue into the NEAS team.
“With responsibility for the strategic development and management of our Emergency Operations Centre, Sue will oversee the delivery of safe and effective services to our patients and members of the public across the North East, whilst providing leadership, direction and management to the teams and maintaining a culture that supports the our values.
“Having just been awarded the new NHS111 contract, she will also be responsible for growing our clinical assessment service and integrating with other NHS services so that patients can have real confidence in the care they will receive.”