Ambulance Service Report: Bosses 'Fail To Listen'

11 June 2013, 14:07 | Updated: 11 June 2013, 17:19

Bosses at the East of England Ambulance Service have been criticised in a new report for failing to listen to staff.

Over the last 2 years they've been failing to get to patients in a timely fashion, faced hospital handover delays and poor staffing levels.

A new report into the service says that it is "suffering with sub standard operational performance'' and has recommended that managers act "urgently'' to restore the achievement of response time targets and get new paramedics into the organisation "as soon as possible''.

In April, the trust - which caters for almost six million people across the region  - admitted that it is not delivering its 999 service "well enough'', saying that it was letting both "patients and staff down''.

Dr Anthony Marsh, who is chief executive of West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust was asked to come and look at the ambulance service here and write a report about what he found.

He's spoken to Heart about his report:

Ambulance Report - Dr Anthony Marsh

In the report released today he said: "There is a feeling across the organisation that the trust board does not listen, and that leadership does not come from board level, this can be evidenced in the fact that the board have only recently accepted that there is a shortage of front line ambulance crews within the trust yet managers state they have been raising this for some time.

"Despite this recognition, there are still plans to recruit #350k worth of non-operational staff to the trust. This funding would be far better utilised recruiting further front line paramedics, providing patient care and meeting response times.

"Furthermore, there is a risk that recruiting to some of the advertised additional management posts will come from internal front line operational and clinical staff, thus reducing even further the available front line ambulance crew workforce.''

He adds that there is a "lack of accountability'' at the trust which has led to "critical decision-making ceasing in some areas''.

In his report, Dr Marsh made 25 recommendations to turn around the trust's poor performance including an urgent recruitment drive to fill the 400 front line vacancies.

He also said that managers should devise an action plan to restore the achievement of local and national targets "as a matter of urgency''.

Directors need to be "very clear of what is expected of them'' and the board should "re-state the purpose, vision, values and strategic objectives of the organisation with energy, ambition, leadership and focus'', he said.

In response the East of England Ambulance Service's interim Chairman Dr Geoff Harris said: “One of the first tasks will be for me, with the Board, to review the findings of this report and submit a formal response to the NHS Trust Development Authority. Any changes needed to our existing turnaround plan, which the Trust published in April, to incorporate the recommendations will be implemented promptly.

He's also spoken to Heart about the report:

Ambulance Report - Dr Geoff Harris