WEST Norfolk: Ambulance service ‘not good enough’
The East of England Ambulance Service has come under fire from the Care Quality Commission for its “deteriorating” ambulance response times, particularly in Norfolk.
The health regulator has given the service’s managers until Wednesday to produce an action plan after an unannounced inspection found that it was failing to meet the “care and welfare of people who use the service”.
However, the service was found to be meeting four of the five standards inspected – cleanliness and infection control, management of medicines, safeguarding people using the service from abuse and supporting workers.
The CQC said that before its inspection it had received complaints from people who had waited up to three hours before an ambulance had arrived to take them to hospital, “causing them much distress and discomfort”.
Its report said: “Response times to emergency calls were an area of concern following our previous inspection in March 2012.
“We were also aware, prior to this inspection, that the trust’s performance had deteriorated during 2012 and that this was particularly evident in the Norfolk area.”
It said the service had regularly failed to meet laid-down ambulance response times in Norfolk and this was said to be due to more calls being received by the control centre and not enough extra staff to meet this increased demand.
The CQC judged that this deterioration meant service users, “could not be assured they would receive care in a timely and effective manner”.
Andrew Morgan, the service’s interim chief executive, said: “I recognise that our performance and response times are simply not good enough.
“That is why we are recruiting more front line staff and seeking to put more ambulances out on the road, whilst also seeking to reduce the delays we experience in handing over patients at hospitals.
“I believe that we can harness the passion of our staff with the plans we have put in place and we will start showing steady improvements over the coming months.”
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Saturday 18 May 2013
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