Ambulance bosses have vowed the service will get 'better and better' after being told the service in the East of England requires improvement.
The East of England Ambulance Service - which covers Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk, was given the 'Requires Improvement' rating following an inspection from the Care Quality Commission.
The Trust’s inspection looked at three core services: emergency operation centres (EOC) where 999 calls are taken, urgent and emergency care including the hazardous area response team, and patient transport services.
While the Trust was rated as ‘requires improvement’ overall, the Trust was pleased to see that the CQC had recognised improvement across some of the individual areas of rating..
Chief Executive Robert Morton said: “Yet again our staff were rated as ‘outstanding’ for caring. The team inspected our Trust during the most challenging winter for the NHS on record, and just weeks after a risk summit called for the NHS system in the region to work together to improve patient experience. We worked with all our regulators, including the CQC, from very early on in this period to ensure we were open and honest with all the challenges we were facing and how we were leading the system to improve services to patients.
“The improvements the CQC saw were in some areas of the Patient Transport Services and our Emergency Operations Centres where we handle and triage 999 calls. I’d like to thank everyone who welcomed the inspection team and gave their views, supported our colleagues in providing a wealth of data and information to the CQC before, during and after the inspection, and represented the ‘We Are EEAST’ approach to our caring and compassionate work.”
Robert added: “The CQC inspected the Trust at a time when staff were extremely tired and under pressure.. There will always be room for improvement. We are aware of the many challenges we face here in the east. Engaging with our staff, across a virtual organisation which is spread out across a an area of 7,500 square miles, can be a huge task. 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.
“We are a united Board-level team with a wide range of expertise and experience to help us strengthen our service and help EEAST remain focused on our patients. The care we provide for them means we’re in the best position ever to provide the modern, high-quality and sustainable health services our communities need. With the right investment, including £11.5m of additional funding this year - we will get better and better.”