April 22, 2022 5.00 pm This story is over 25 months old

Second ‘inadequate’ CQC report sees Grimsby ambulance service stripped of registration

It has since been reinstated after improvement evidence was provided

By Local Democracy Reporter

A Grimsby-based ambulance service has addressed problems surrounding dirty vehicles, poor staff training and a lack of leadership after a second consecutive ‘inadequate’ rating from the CQC and a registration suspension,

Mobile Medical Cover, an independent ambulance service based in Grimsby, was subject to a Care Quality Commission inspection in February, to see if improvements had been implemented following an ‘inadequate’ rating from an inspection in November 2021.

In both reports, the CQC highlighted a number of concerns with the service, including dirty vehicles and poor management of medicine, including medical gases.

The inspection was taken particularly seriously this time around given the shortcomings that were found last year. A warning notice was issued to Mobile Medical Cover following its November inspection, calling for marked improvements to be made.

The latest inspection (read the full report here), which evaluated whether the service was safe and well-led, found that:

  • There were insufficient infection prevention and control measures in place to mitigate risks of infection to patients. Vehicles were visibly dirty and had not been maintained
  • The service failed to ensure effective systems for the storage, administration and reconciliation of medicines, including medical gases
  • The service failed to demonstrate established or effective processes to ensure compliance
  • The design, maintenance and use of facilities, premises, vehicles and equipment didn’t keep people safe
  • Leaders couldn’t demonstrate they had the skills and abilities to run the service. They couldn’t articulate understanding and management of the priorities and issues facing the service.
  • Leaders were unable to demonstrate how they operated effective governance processes

As a result of these findings, the CQC took enforcement action and suspended the provider’s registration until May, due to the fact no effort seemed to have been made to positively change the outcome.

However, since the February inspection, evidence has been provided by Mobile Medical Cover, which successfully appealed to get its registration reinstated by the CQC.

Mark Furneaux, managing director of Mobile Medical Cover, told The Lincolnite: “The improvements have now been made and we are now operating again with full CQC approval. This report was generated several months ago.

“We accepted the findings of the report and worked with the CQC to rectify the issues identified.

“We completed this work to a high standard and the CQC accepted the evidence we provided. As a result, we are now back providing a high quality service to our patients.

“We are delighted to be doing so and we have received very positive feedback from patients and commissioners alike.”

Despite this, the Care Quality Commission expressed disappointment at the findings from the report, stating “no real improvements” had been made at the time, but accepted evidence has since been provided.

Sarah Dronsfield, CQC‘s head of hospital inspection said: “We were disappointed to find that no real improvements had been made at Mobile Medical Cover and significant failures were putting people at risk.

CQC used its powers to immediately suspend the service’s registration to protect people from the risk of avoidable harm, and to give the provider the opportunity to take the necessary actions to address our concerns.

“The provider has since applied to have the suspension removed, and we have agreed to this application, only after receiving evidence showing the provider has taken action to address the areas of concern which put people at risk of harm.

“We will continue to monitor the service closely to ensure people are receiving safe care. If we find this is not happening, we will not hesitate to take further action in line with our regulatory powers.”