July 27, 2022 5.01 pm This story is over 23 months old

Safety concerns see Grimsby ambulance service licence stripped once again

Same issues continue to plague Mobile Medical Cover

By Local Democracy Reporter

The Care Quality Commission has suspended the registration of a Grimsby-based ambulance service for the third time in less than a year after “significant failures” which put patients at risk.

Mobile Medical Cover, an independent emergency ambulance service operating in Grimsby, was first subject to enforcement action from the CQC in November 2021, when an inspection deemed the services ‘inadequate’ in a number of areas.

The service provides non-emergency transport of patients across Lincolnshire, as well as offering emergency and urgent care at large public events.

However, it was found that the vehicles were dirty and medicine was not being properly managed, while leadership qualities were also brought into question last year.

In February, another inspection was called to see if improvements had been implemented, but the CQC found that they had not – so had its registration suspended.

This suspension was lifted in April, as Mobile Medical Cover provided evidence that addressed immediate concerns, though this was short lived as the service is again under scrutiny by the CQC.

A recent inspection in fact found a number of concerns with the service, resulting in a suspension of the provider’s registration once again, this time until August.

Mobile Medical Cover was again rated ‘inadequate’ in the report, with issues around safety and leadership again at the helm. The domain of caring was not inspected at this time.

Sarah Dronsfield, CQC head of hospital inspection said: “It was disappointing that when we returned to Mobile Medical Cover, significant failures were continuing to put 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 service continued to demonstrate poor infection prevention and control practices in both the environment and each individual ambulance we saw. We saw infection prevention and control audits completed by the management did not reflect the findings of the inspection team.”

The CQC flagged up repairs from the previous inspection as being not fit for purpose, while also addressing concerns that medicines were not separated.

It was reported that the service failed to ensure effective risk assessments were being done, it failed to ensure infection prevention measures were in place during the pandemic, and alarmingly the service had also failed to share outcomes of incident investigations with patients, families and carers.

Sarah Dronsfield continues: “Although the provider had made some repairs to the interior of the ambulances, these repairs were not fit for purpose and meant the ambulances could not be effectively cleaned. In addition, medicines weren’t separated which posed a risk of incorrect administration.

“We found little improvement in leadership and management of the service following the previous inspection. Issues with the quality of the service had not been identified or addressed and the service had made little improvement. The registered manager was unable to articulate their role and responsibilities and how they planned to improve the service.

“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.”

The Lincolnite contacted Mobile medical Cover for a statement, but received no reply by the time of publication.