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West Norfolk's ambulance service told to improve, despite 'outstanding' care

Ambulance news (1985792)
Ambulance news (1985792)

West Norfolk’s ambulance service has been told it must improve by health inspectors, despite being praised for “outstanding” care.

A Care Quality Commission (CQC) report into the East of England Ambulance Service, published this morning, said it “requires improvement.”

The findings followed assessment visits made in March, when trust bosses said staff were “extremely tired and under pressure” following their toughest winter yet.

CQC chief inspector of hospitals, Professor Ted Baker, said that, although some progress had been made, the trust was not meeting response time standards and had faced a number of serious incidents during the winter.

He said: “We were also concerned that staff morale was low. People working at the trust described a culture of late shift finishes, frustration at not being able to provide the service they wanted to due to pressures on the trust and disengagement between front line staff and the senior management team.

“People said they did not always feel valued, particularly after what had been an exhausting winter.

“However, we found a number of areas of outstanding practice and staff were overwhelmingly caring and dedicated to providing the best care they could to patients. People who used the service also gave positive feedback.”

Trust chief executive Robert Horton welcomed the praise offered for care standards and said the organisation had been “open and honest” about its challenges and how it was addressing them.

He added: “The CQC inspected the trust at a time when staff were extremely tired and under pressure. There will always be room for improvement.

“Our workforce are highly mobile and travel approx 12 million miles a year supporting or delivering the best care we can to patients.

“We are working to ensure the leaders at every level in our organisation are given the time and space to build effective, communicative teams at a local level – particularly during tough periods like winter.

“Given the highly virtual and mobile nature of our workforce, we must be innovative about how we can engage our workforce who do not work in a single large site like a hospital.”

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