East: Ambulance Service Continues To Miss Targets

29 January 2014, 13:26 | Updated: 29 January 2014, 13:53

The Care Quality Commission says the East of England Ambulance Service still isn't getting to patients with potentially life-threatening injuries fast enough.

A spot-check from the health regulator found improvements are being made, but care and welfare of patients and staffing are singled out as still needing work.

The report finds that the NHS trust has met five out of seven healthcare targets.

The targets that were met are safety, availability and suitability of equipment, requirements relating to workers, supporting workers, assessing and monitoring the quality of service provision and complaints.

The CQC report was published the day after Doctor Geoff Harris resigned from his position as Interim Chair of the NHS Trust.

Response Time Targets Missed

In its judgement on patient care, the report reads: "The provider was not meeting this standard.

People received good quality care from ambulance crews, however the trust had not been able to implement the improvements needed to respond more quickly to people in potentially life threatening situations.

We have judged that this has a moderate impact on people who use the service, and have told the provider to take action."

Regarding staffing, the report quotes: "The provider was not meeting this standard.

The trust did not have the numbers of suitably qualified staff it required to ensure that national ambulance response times were met and people received the care they needed in a timely way.

We have judged that this has a moderate impact on people who use the service, and have told the provider to take action."

Important Report 'Acknowledges Improvements' - Ambulance Chief Exec

Chief Executive of The East of England Ambulance Service Doctor Marsh said: "This is an important report as it acknowledges the improvements that have already been made.

It highlights the need to reduce long response times and ambulance back up delays to patients. 

This is why we have started recruiting 400 student paramedics and I am delighted that we have had in excess of 1,000 applications in the first week.

This is one of our immediate priorities and will form part of the Board?s wider strategy to progress services and tackle resourcing issues. 

In addition, we will be looking to recruit more graduate paramedics and provide additional training for existing staff. 

This, along with other actions we have put in place such as our Hospital Liaison Ambulance Officer schemes to help speed up patient handovers at hospitals, will improve patient care, reduce ambulance delays and be beneficial for staff. 

I welcome this report as it shows everyone where we are; the improvements we have made and confirms that the changes we are making will tackle the other areas that need improvement, although this will take time. 

Although I have only been with the Trust for under a month I can clearly see the determination of everyone throughout the service, from the Board to the front line, to succeed and provide the type of service that we all want to see."