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Ambulance service ordered to improve key standards
4:24pm Wednesday 25th September 2013 in News
AN ambulance service for a population of more than five million people has been ordered to make immediate improvements after failing to meet two of six essential standards.
Yorkshire Ambulance Service, which has recently faced criticism over responding to emergencies in rural areas of North Yorkshire, has been told to send the Care Quality Commission (CQC) a report by Tuesday (October 1), setting out the action it will take to improve both staff support and its management of medicines.
The CQC’s three-day unannounced inspection of the service in July included observing how people were cared for, talking to service users, visits to four ambulance stations, an emergency control centre and a 111 control centre and three hospital sites.
During their visit, inspectors spoke to a number of patients and carers, as well as colleagues in other trusts, all of whom spoke highly about the service and the quality of care provided by its staff.
However, the inspectors found the majority of emergency ambulance crew staff it spoke to had difficulty in accessing training and meaningful supervision and appraisal due to work pressures and the need to prioritise operational work.
A paramedic at the service, which receives an average of 2,180 emergency and urgent calls per day and employs over 4,600 staff, told inspectors: "There isn't enough training to keep clinical skills up to date."
Inspectors also found while medicines required for resuscitation and other medical emergencies were available to be administered quickly, paramedics could find medicines they needed had already been used, and not replaced.
They concluded regular audits of the use of medicines, including controlled drugs, were not being consistently completed as described in trust policy.
A CQC spokeswoman said: “We will check to make sure that action is taken.
“Where providers are not meeting essential standards, we have a range of enforcement powers we can use to protect the health, safety and welfare of people who use this service.”
A YAS spokesman said the trust had been aware of, and taking action on, most of the issues highlighted and where this was not the case, had put measures in place to address the concerns.
YAS chief executive David Whiting said: “The overarching view of the quality and safety of services at the trust is very positive, but we acknowledge that improvements are required in the consistency of drug stock audits and our staff supervision and appraisal process.
“We are already addressing the minor concerns which have been raised by the CQC and are committed to achieving the required improvements as quickly as possible.”
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