The care, commitment and dedication of hardworking staff have led to the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) maintaining their rating for caring as ‘Outstanding’ in a recent inspection.
The inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which took place during April and May 2019, covered three of the Trust’s core services – emergency and urgent care, resilience and patient transport services.
Inspectors commented that: “Despite factors such as high service demands and frequent callers, staff strived to always provide care that was compassionate, respectful, supportive, never time-rushed and met patients’ needs.” They also noted that the Trust’s emergency service consistently performs better than the national average on the NHS Friends and Family Test, scoring between 95% and 100%.
The Trust maintained an overall rating of ‘Requires improvement’. The Trust’s rating for Responsive was improved to ‘Good’ and it maintained its ‘Outstanding’ rating for the compassion and kindness staff show to patients and their families. The Trust’s Resilience Team was praised for exceeding Trust targets and rated as ‘Good’ (with an area of ‘outstanding’ practice) while the Patient Transport Service improved its rating to ‘Good’.
CQC inspectors commented that leadership was more visible, resilience was good and steps had been taken to reduce hospital handover delays. They also heard from staff that the culture of the Trust is changing and that the interim CEO, Dorothy Hosein, has engaged extensively and addressed many of their key concerns. They were positive about the impact that she and the leadership team is now having and the pace at which improvements are taking place. However, the CQC reported that further work is needed to be done to embed those improvements. This includes improving response times, boosting recruitment and making sure the way medicines are stored, administered and prescribed is consistent across the Trust.
The Trust Board has recognised that there are a number of areas for improvement in the Well Led aspect, which was rated as ‘Inadequate’. The Board will be focusing on:
- Creating a stable leadership team including recruiting a permanent Chair and CEO
- Embedding governance and risk processes across the Trust
- Further improving staff engagement and the Trust culture, including our successful safety huddles
- Strengthening the HR function
Ed Garratt, Chief Executive of Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG the lead commissioner on behalf of a Consortium of 19 CCGs in the area, said: “The paramedics, technicians, control room staff and volunteers should be rightly proud of the work they do. People call the ambulance service at some of the worst times of their lives, so to retain ‘Outstanding’ for care and move to ‘Good’ for being responsive is important progress. While there is much to do, the new chief executive and chairman are making clear improvements.”
Nigel Beverley, Interim Chair of EEAST, said: “I am pleased to have joined EEAST at such an important stage in its improvement journey. There has been turnover within the Trust Board in the last few months. However, we are strengthening the leadership and rebuilding the senior team over the next 12 months.”
Dorothy Hosein, Interim CEO, said: “I am delighted to see that this report rightly pays tribute to the outstanding care that our staff and volunteers deliver to patients on a daily basis. I am pleased that the inspectors noted the positive changes underway. Over the coming months my commitment is to ensure that our patients and staff really feel the impact of these improvements.”
The CQC inspection report is available here: www.cqc.org.uk/provider/RYC