Am­bu­lances still need to im­prove

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Spotlight On Health -

The am­bu­lance ser­vice which cov­ers Kent is to re­main in spe­cial mea­sures, after a new in­spec­tion.

Eng­land’s Chief In­spec­tor of Hos­pi­tals has told SECamb (South East Coast Am­bu­lance Ser­vice NHS Foun­da­tion Trust) that it must con­tinue to make sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments to its ser­vices, fol­low­ing its lat­est in­spec­tion by the Care Qual­ity Com­mis­sion.

The trust was first la­belled as fail­ing in Septem­ber last year.

In the lat­est in­spec­tion, in May this year, the Care Qual­ity Com­mis­sion (CQC) said the trust needs to make ur­gent im­prove­ments in a num­ber of ar­eas, in­clud­ing record­ing 999 calls.

It was also told to pro­tect pa­tients from the risks as­so­ci­ated with the un­safe use of medicines, make sure there are enough clin­i­cians in each emer­gency op­er­a­tion cen­tre and in­ves­ti­gate in­ci­dents in a timely way.

But in­spec­tors found the trust had made some im­prove­ments since the May 2016 in­spec­tion, par­tic­u­larly around re­port­ing of in­ci­dents, and staffing lev­els dur­ing busy pe­ri­ods.

A new board was tack­ling the is­sues but fur­ther progress was still needed, it found.

The men­tal health street triage ser­vice was found to be out­stand­ing, and the Haz­ardous Area Re­sponse Team also came in for praise.

In­spec­tors also said the NHS 111 helpline was good after it had made a num­ber of im­prove­ments.

SECamb’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, Daren Mochrie, 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.”

The CQC’s chief in­spec­tor of hos­pi­tals, Pro­fes­sor Ted Baker, said: “Al­though we have seen some ar­eas of im­prove­ment, South East Coast Am­bu­lance NHS Foun­da­tion Trust has not yet made enough progress for me to rec­om­mend that it should leave spe­cial mea­sures.

“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.”

Daren Mochrie, chief exec of SECAmb

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