Ambulance service must improve, health bosses told

New Year pharmacy times.
New Year pharmacy times.

Bosses at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust have been told to take action to improve after the latest inspection by an industry watchdog.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has rated the trust as ‘requires improvement’ for its safety, effectiveness and responsiveness after a team of inspectors visited the service in January and February.

Infection control was one of the issues identified, with the general cleanliness inside ambulances and procedures for disposal of clinical waste giving inspectors “cause for concern”.

They also highlighted the lack of equipment checks by the hazardous area response team, where a “large amount of lifesaving equipment had passed its expiry date”. Out-of-date medical supplies were also found in some ambulances and at ambulance stations.

It found the trust was failing to meet national target emergency times for responding to life-threatening conditions. During the first two quarters of 2014-2015, the service had performed worse than the 75 per cent national target rate, with less than 71 per cent of calls responded to within eight minutes. But it performed better than average for ‘category A calls’ - those requiring an ambulance within 19 minutes. Inspectors acknowledged national difficulties in recruiting staff, impacting on the trust’s ability to be responsive or for staff to attend training.

However they found the trust’s services were caring - rating this category as ‘good’ - with patients treated with compassion, dignity and respect by ambulance staff, as well as highlighting areas of outstanding practice including the trust’s ‘Restart a Heart’ campaign which had trained 12,000 pupils in 50 schools in Yorkshire.