Ambulance staff praised following service inspection
The CQC investigation into the ambulance service found that 75 per cent of emergency incidents were being attended within eight minutes, in line with Government targets, while 95 per cent of cases were being attended by a vehicle that could convey a patient to hospital within 19 minutes.
The trust also had the highest percentage of ‘see and treat’ cases – where patients are treated at the scene and not transferred to hospital – of all ambulance trusts in the country.
Inspections were carried by the Care Quality Commission on September 10 and 11, with unannounced visits on September 30 and October 1, and the report was driven by five main questions:
- Is the service that is being provided safe?
- Is it effective?
- Is it caring?
- Is it responsive to people’s needs, and;
- Is it well-led?
The findings were based on what was observed during the inspections, information taken from a monitoring system and information provided by patients, the public and relevant organisations.
A report into the investigation read: “Staff said it was a friendly and positive place to work but not without its challenges; namely, managing tight resources against an increasing demand for services.
“Staff were caring and compassionate, treated patients with dignity and respect, were positive about the quality of care they provided and were proud to work for the trust.”
The inspection formed part of the first wave of comprehensive Care Quality Commission ambulance inspections, which focused on three core services: access via emergency operations centres, patient transport services and emergency and urgent care.
The 111 service provided by the trust was not inspected on this occasion.
However, it was found that SCAS was affected by the national shortage of paramedics and that there were a high number of vacancies within the trust.
“Staffing levels were a concern and staff worked long hours, sometimes without breaks,” the report read.
“Action was being taken to manage peaks in demand but staff were not meeting target times to answer emergency calls.”
It was also found that some departments needed to gain a better understanding of relevant mental capacity regulations, but specialist training on dementia care, learning disabilities and mental health was being improved.
In addition, while patients were said to have positive views on emergency ambulance response times, concerns were raised about the punctuality of patient transport services.
SCAS chief executive, Will Hancock, said: “We welcome the report findings and the opportunity that this has given us to see ourselves as others see us.
“We are grateful to everyone who contributed to this inspection process and we are keen to use the learning and findings to focus on improving and ensuring that our patients receive the best possible care that we can provide.
“I was delighted that the CQC remarked on how proud staff were to work for SCAS and how noticeable it was that staff lived the values of the trust – caring, professionalism, teamwork and innovation – in everything they did day to day.”