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Lincolnshire ambulances still not meeting standards, CQC report finds

An annual inspection report on the East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) indicates the service in Lincolnshire needs further improvements before meeting essential standards.

The report, carried out by national watchdog Care and Quality Comminssion (CQC), acknowledged that while some improvements were made since the last inspection, minimum requirements were not being met across many areas.

The visit by CQC started on January 29 and lasted for two weeks. Of the six areas investigated, four were marked as ‘non-compliant’.

Among areas needing improvement are EMAS’s minimum standard in response times to life-threatening calls for the year.

In addition, the need to better ensure that more vehicles are available at the start of each shift was noted.

The report highlighted that the trust needs to continue with its plans to ensure that more qualified staff are in the right place at the right time, and to offer better staff support with clear career progression.

However, inspectors noted that EMAS is taking steps to progress its improvement plans, and is happy that no further action needs to be taken by the CQC.

Sue Noyes, Chief Executive at EMAS, said: “The findings of the report reflect that EMAS is well-underway in delivering an organisation-wide improvement programme.

“It praises us for many areas of care, such as cleanliness and infection-control, our handling of complaints, the professional, attentive nature of staff, and it acknowledges many improvements made since our last inspection.

“However, there are a number of areas where we know we need to improve. We are well underway with addressing these.

“We have recently launched our new staff career development and support programme, and continue to focus on ensuring more consistent availability of ambulances at the start of shifts, and on improving staff engagement, satisfaction and morale.”

She added: “I am confident that our improvement plans under the ‘Better Patient Care’ programme will meet the areas identified within the CQC report before the next inspection.

“I would like to thank staff for their continued hard work to deliver these improvements, particularly during what has been a busy winter period.”