Am­bu­lance ser­vice wins Good rat­ing

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OUT­STAND­ING work by paramedics has helped the North West Am­bu­lance Ser­vice NHS Trust achieve a “Good” rat­ing from the Care Qual­ity Com­mis­sion.

Two years ago the ser­vice was said to re­quire im­prove­ment.

Eng­land’s chief in­spec­tor of hospi­tals, Prof Ted Baker, has wel­comed the im­prove­ments. The CQC watch­dog also rated the trust as Good for be­ing safe, car­ing, ef­fec­tive, re­spon­sive to peo­ple’s needs and well led.

In­spec­tors found that work by the com­mu­nity paramedics was out­stand­ing, work­ing as part of a multi-dis­ci­plinary team with com­mu­nity nurses, men­tal health nurses, teach­ers and in care homes with the needs of the com­mu­nity at the fore­front.

Staff were in­volved in ini­tia­tives ranged from help­ing men­tal health pa­tients over­come fears of med­i­cal pro­ce­dures to pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sures aimed at re­duc­ing ad­mis­sions to emer­gency de­part­ments by res­i­dents of care home res­i­dents.

Prof Baker said: “With 1.4 mil­lion calls per year there is con­stant pres­sure on the am­bu­lance ser­vices in the North West to be there when­ever we need them, at all times of the day.

“I am pleased to ac­knowl­edge the hard work and con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment made by North West Am­bu­lance Ser­vice NHS Trust to build upon the find­ings of our last in­spec­tion and have helped the trust im­prove its rat­ing to ‘good’.

“We found a pa­tient-cen­tred ser­vice where staff con­sis­tently showed com­pas­sion and re­spect to pa­tients and call­ers dur­ing some very stress­ful and de­mand­ing sit­u­a­tions.”

In emer­gency and ur­gent care there were also new staffing ar­range­ments that pro­vided sup­port to am­bu­lance teams in re­spond­ing to risk.

Staff had ac­cess to en­hanced clin­i­cal sup­port when they needed it and told in­spec­tors they were al­ways given time to make safe­guard­ing re­fer­rals.

In the pe­riod un­til April this year the trust’s per­for­mance for deal­ing with cat­e­gory 1 emer­gency calls had im­proved and was now bet­ter than the na­tional av­er­age.

The trust it­self has pointed to good rat­ings for three of the its key ser­vices cov­er­ing ur­gent and emer­gency care, emer­gency op­er­a­tions cen­tres and re­silience teams.

In­spec­tors also found ev­i­dence that safety and lead­er­ship at the trust had im­proved since its last in­spec­tion in 2016.

In­terim chief ex­ec­u­tive Michael For­rest said: “We are de­lighted with a ‘good’ rat­ing from the Care Qual­ity Com­mis­sion which we feel re­flects the way we de­liver ser­vices for pa­tients and val­ues the ded­i­ca­tion of our hard­work­ing staff who work un­der ever in­creas­ing de­mand.

“CQC said that our staff are proud to work for the or­gan­i­sa­tion, and we’re ex­tremely proud of them too. We are thrilled CQC no­ticed the high lev­els of care by our front­line staff where pa­tients were treated with re­spect and com­pas­sion.

“We are par­tic­u­larly happy with im­proved ‘well-led’ and ‘safe’ rat­ings and that CQC noted staff were en­gaged with our strate­gic vi­sion to do the right thing for ev­ery pa­tient, ev­ery time.

“There’s still a lot of work to do to achieve our aim of be­com­ing the best am­bu­lance ser­vice in the coun­try, but this rat­ing as­sures us, and the peo­ple we serve in the north west, that we’re head­ing in the right di­rec­tion.”

CQC said that among other im­prove­ments the ser­vice should im­prove ar­range­ments sys­tems to en­sure ve­hi­cles are safe, clean and ready to go.

The North West Am­bu­lance Ser­vice has been rated ‘Good’ by the Care Qual­ity Com­mis­sion

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