latest health care news

09.10.17

CQC keeps ambulance trust in special measures given ‘deep-rooted problems’

England’s chief inspector of hospitals has told troubled South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS FT (SECAmb) that it must continue to make significant improvements to its services, following its latest inspection by the CQC.

Professor Ted Baker has recommended the trust stay in special measures where it had been since a CQC recommendation in September last year.

The latest inspection was conducted in May 2017 and reviewed the progress of the organisation against the requirements of a warning notice issued in 2016.

In August of last year, the struggling trust was hit with another blow when it lost its contract to provide non-emergency transport services to South Central Ambulance Service NHS FT.

After the initial inspection, the CQC rated emergency and urgent care services as ‘inadequate’ and the emergency operations centre as ‘requires improvement’.

The report found that the trust’s voice recording systems had failed to consistently record 999 calls since January 2017 and that 111 calls were not providing consistent information.

There was also a documented failure to protect users against the risks associated with the inappropriate use and management of medicines.

In addition, the trust was found to have a lack of clinicians in emergency operations centres and did not fulfill requirements relating to the storage and completion of patient records.

However, staff were found to be consistently compassionate, treating patients and callers with kindness and respect, including those in mental health crisis, and the trust’s mental health street triage service was also documented as an outstanding practice.

Despite this, some staff were found to be dealing with children, young people and their parents without the required level of safeguarding training.

Professor Baker said: “I am concerned that the previous leadership had not fully addressed longstanding cultural issues and in particular the historical problems of bullying and harassment.

“While the problem is now being addressed there is still work to be done here and in the management of medicines.

 “It is clear there have been deep-rooted problems and the trust would now benefit from a period of stable management to address these issues.”

The issue of bullying among staff had been a major point of contention in the initial report but was found to be beginning to improve following the start of new action plans.

Daren Mochrie, the new chief executive who took over the trust in April, said: “While I am disappointed that not enough progress has been made for us to improve our overall rating, I am confident that progress is being made and that this will continue.

“I believe that the pace of improvement has picked up since the CQC visit in May 2017 but I am very aware, as is our senior team, that there remains a significant amount of work to be done.”

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