North West Ambulance Service (NWAS)

North West Ambulance Service (NWAS)

NHS Knowsley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) can report that North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) was inspected by the health and social care regulator The Care Quality Commission (CQC) in May 2016. This week a report was published by CQC, which unfortunately sees the NWAS ‘requiring improvement’. This is disappointing, however we are pleased to see that a lot of areas were seen as being ‘good’ in relation to care, responsiveness and effectiveness, patient transfer services, and emergency operation centres. Furthermore, the delivery of the Trust’s Hazardous Area Response Teams, the implementation of community care pathways and the use of new technology to map public defibrillator locations, and sharing that information with control centres so they could be used to help patients in the community were seen as ‘outstanding’. There are clearly lots of parts of the report which NWAS should take pride in.

9 months have passed since the inspection, and of course, NWAS was already aware of some of the problems within the Trust and therefore had already started on improving the service. NWAS Chief Executive, Derek Cartwright has said that, “As an organisation which has patients at the heart of all we do, I was extremely pleased to hear that the CQC believes our staff to be caring and compassionate and that we regard safety and quality as a priority. This is one of the key components of an organisation which exists to provide care for patients and it is heartening to hear from the CQC what I have always known. Our staff work hard every day to do the very best they can for patients – from saving lives to offering comfort to relatives, and they should be very proud that this has been recognised.

“We accept the comments in the report relating to improvements required for procedures, guidelines and training, however the inspection took place almost ten months ago and the majority of the points highlighted have already been addressed. For the remainder, we are working to a robust action plan which is being monitored by the Executive team and our Commissioners. These relate to the Trust’s duty of candour and safeguarding of adults procedures and policies, together with the need to increase the recording and learning from incidents.
“The Trust is also addressing its capacity to consent procedures in line with the Mental Capacity Act of 2005, provide support and training in the management of bariatric patients, strengthen the complaints procedures and improve compliance with the Fit and Proper Persons regulations.”

Talking in relation to the Trust’s care and compassion towards patients and their clinical treatment, CQC has stated, “Communication with callers who contacted 999 was effective and reassuring. Staff were compassionate, reassuring and treated callers with dignity and respect.”

“There were systems in place to meet the needs of patients in rural locations, which included partnership working with health, social and the voluntary care sector”
“Staff were dedicated and committed to caring for patients and often went above and beyond the expectations of their employer to provide care.”

“Emotional support was offered to patients and their relatives in both life-threatening and emergency situations and also during less urgent situations.”

Furthermore Mr Cartwright has commented, “The last 12 months have been extremely challenging for the organisation with unprecedented demand for our services, and it is unfortunate that by not reviewing policies and guidelines as often as we should, we are in the position we are now. We are determined to right this as soon as possible and ensure that staff are given adequate time to complete their mandatory training. This will be a team effort across the whole of the organisation and I am confident that the CQC will see huge improvements when they next visit.”

We echo Mr Cartwright’s sentiment that there will be a major improvement the next time that the CQC visit NWAS