West Midlands Ambulance Service downgraded to Good by health watchdogs - The Worcester Observer

West Midlands Ambulance Service downgraded to Good by health watchdogs

Worcester Editorial 9th Mar, 2024   0

WEST MIDLANDS Ambulance Service has been downgraded to Good by health watchdogs.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspected the Trust last year and looked at two core services: urgent and emergency care and emergency operations centres (EOC), as well as how well-led the trust was overall.

While the service has dropped its rating from Outstanding, it remains the best in the country.

It has again been rated good for being safe and re-rated outstanding for being caring.

Charlotte Rudge, CQC deputy director of operations in the Midlands, said: “When we inspected West Midlands Ambulance Service University NHS Foundation Trust, we found leaders had the skills, knowledge and experience to run services well.

“However, external challenges across the healthcare system meant that ambulances were queuing for hours at accident and emergency departments due to handover delays at hospitals, which impacted on people’s care and wellbeing.

“This resulted in longer response times for people calling an ambulance, it also had a negative effect on staff, who were doing their best to provide safe care and treatment to people.

“In the trust’s two emergency operations centres, the service was the best in the country for answering 999 calls.

“We will continue to monitor the trust, including through future inspections, to ensure the necessary improvements are made so people are safe and can continue to receive a good standard of care.”

Trust chief executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “The overall rating has dropped from Outstanding to Good, which is disappointing given how hard our staff work every single day, but we are delighted that the inspectors continue to believe that the caring domain remains outstanding.

“In addition, the inspectors have now rated our Emergency Operations Centres (EOCs) as outstanding; the only one in the country. As the report notes, we have the best call answering in the country and treat more patients over the phone than any other Trust.

“However, the biggest change the inspectors noted was in our effectiveness, which has dropped from outstanding to requires improvement.

“The report is very clear that the route cause of this change is as a result of hospital handover delays that see our crews stuck outside hospitals for hours on end, unable to respond to patients in the community.

“They also note the hugely negative impact these delays have on our staff and their wellbeing.”

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