A closer look at the Contact Centre

A Focus on Tom Howard, Contact Centre manager

In each edition, we will look to profile a NEAS role. In our first edition, we are focussing on our Contact Centre, with Tom Howard, our Contact Centre manager.

I have worked for NEAS for four years now as Contact Centre Manager.

Previously I had worked for the NHS BSA, Barclaycard, Direct Line Insurance, and stock brokers TD Waterhouse, all in roles involving leading large numbers of people to provide service excellence for high volumes of customers.

NEAS differs, not in terms of numbers of staff or volumes of customers needing service, but because of the job we do, dealing with people and patients in desperate need on a daily basis.

Every person in NEAS has a role to play in making this organisation tick, from paramedics to back office admin.

The Contact Centre – made up of 999, 111 and PTS Call Handling, PTS Planning and Day Control (dispatch), and Emergency Care Dispatch - is pivotal to the service.

Every month we take around 50,000 111 calls, 33,000 999 calls and 40,000 PTS calls. We also plan approximately 88,000 PTS journeys, take an additional 11,000 on-the-day journeys, and dispatch around 30,000 Emergency Care ambulances.

In 2012/13 we won the NHS111 contract worth £45m to the trust. We brought 111 into the North East on time and hitting forecasted service levels from day one, while the rest of the country crumbled. This was possible because of the strength of a workforce management system and team.

I’m proud of how the Contact Centre has developed and what my team have achieved so far. However, there is more to be done. Recruitment has been an issue for us for some time and we are working with the Recruitment Team to make sure we have new recruits in place to fill the gaps. There are also more contracts to be won.

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