CQC rates first ever ambulance trust as ‘outstanding’
The CQC has rated West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (WMAS) as ‘outstanding’ following recent inspections, making it the first ambulance trust to receive the accolade.
Inspectors examined the trust’s emergency and urgent care, emergency operations centre, patient transport services and resilience during announced and unannounced inspections in June and July last year.
The trust was rated as ‘outstanding’ for its services being caring and effective and ‘good’ for being safe, responsive and well-led.
The CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said: “I am extremely pleased to announce that WMAS is the first ambulance service in England to receive an outstanding rating.
“As demand for emergency care grows year by year, our ambulance services have never been busier. I know the trust is at the forefront of national improvements in the ambulance service, exploring better ways to deal with emergency calls so that people get appropriate care in the right place at the right time.”
The CQC lauded the trust for continually meeting all timeframe targets for responding to urgent calls dealing with life-threatening or critical conditions over the last year, making it the highest performer across all ten ambulance trusts in England.
Inspectors also found that the trust was well organised with a “strong and stable” leadership team and found staff to be outstanding in how they supported people who were in stressful situations, noting a “positive, patient centred” culture in the trust.
However, the CQC did find some areas of improvement for WMAS, rating the trust’s patient transport services as requires improvement overall.
WMAS chairman, Sir Graham Meldrum, added: “This is an excellent start to 2017 not only for our staff and volunteers but for the people of the West Midlands.
“It is an inevitable fact that, every single day, people will call 999 for help in their hour of need,” the chairman added. “The CQC report shows that patients are receiving the highest standard of care and compassion from our staff as well as providing appropriate care in the right place and at the right time.”
WMAS chief executive Anthony Marsh added that the trust has accepted the need for improvements to its patient transport services and has already implemented “a number of improvements” since the inspection.
Last week, the CQC rated the North West Ambulance Service NHS FT as ‘requires improvement’, and in December 2016 it banned a private ambulance service in Plymouth from operating services after finding serious safety concerns.
(Image: c. Peter Byrne PA Wire)
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