Yorkshire Ambulance Service rated 'Good' by Government inspectors following previous criticism

Yorkshire Ambulance Service
Yorkshire Ambulance Service

The Yorkshire Ambulance Service has been rated 'Good' by Government inspectors following previous criticism.

The Care Quality Commission praised the service's emergency operation centre, 111 service, urgent care and planning.

The ambulance service, which covers almost 6,000 square miles while serving a population of more than five million people, employs 4,670 staff and provides 24-hour emergency and healthcare services

Only patient transport services was told it needed to improve by the CQC.

The ambulance service was previously rated 'one of the worst' for reviving patients after a heart attack. But the health watchdog, who carried out an inspection back in September, found the service was now 'one of the best'.

Sir Mike Richards, chief inspector of hospitals said: "The Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust faced real challenges, which were apparent at our previous inspection.

“Although we found a caring organisation in 2015, we told the trust it must improve the safety, effectiveness, and responsiveness of the service it was providing to the people of Yorkshire.

“Since then, it is clear that the trust has worked hard to address the issues we raised, and I am pleased to be able to change its rating from Requires Improvement to Good.

“This rating amendment reflects the changes they have made; we saw a trust with a much improved approach to safety, and one that was addressing national staff shortages through a range of local initiatives. We also saw improved response times which were leading to better outcomes for patients.

“We were impressed with the improvements we saw, and the staff at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust should be pleased with their new rating. However there is still work to do to ensure that the trust can sustain these changes and CQC has also told the trust where it must make further improvements.”

Rod Barnes, Chief Executive of Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: “We are delighted with the outcome of the CQC’s recent inspection of our organisation.

Their assessment reflects the high quality of service provided by our dedicated staff who work tirelessly every day to provide timely and safe services for our patients. Itmakes me immensely proud that the commitment of our staff and volunteers and the great care they provide have been formally recognised.

“All of our services demonstrated significant improvement since the CQC’s inspection in January 2015. We do recognise, however, that there is always more we can do to improve our services and the reports have highlighted a number of areas for attention.

We will use the CQC’s feedback to help shape future developments and raise standards further.

“We are also pleased that the CQC has highlighted a number of areas of outstanding practice. These include our Red Arrest Team providing senior clinical support for patients who suffer a cardiac arrest, partnership working to improve integrated urgent and emergency care across the region, the introduction of palliative care nurses in our NHS 111 call centres to support end-of- life care, and clinical developments within our Hazardous Area Response Team. They also praised the Trust’s volunteer community first responder schemes, our commitment to supporting the placement of public access defibrillators in local communities and our Restart a Heart campaign to train schoolchildren in the vital skill of CPR.”

Kath Lavery, the Trust’s Chairman, said: “Although I have only been at Yorkshire Ambulance Service for a relatively short time, I have realised very quickly just how much care and compassion our staff show to patients, often in very challenging circumstances.

“It is well-documented how busy the NHS is with ever-increasing demand and it is testament to our leadership team and every member of staff, whatever their role, that their determination to put patients first and do the very best for them remains our highest priority. My sincere thanks go to everyone at the Trust for all that that they do because this is their achievement.”

On the NHS 111 report, Dr Philip Foster, Director for Planned and Urgent Care at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: “We are proud to be one of the best performing NHS 111 services in the country and that is very much down to the fantastic work done by our staff.

“We continue to work with our local commissioners to develop the service in response to patients’ urgent care needs and recent innovations include the provision of more specialist staff to provide advice to patients on mental health, palliative and pharmacy-related calls.

“We are committed to further developing the NHS 111 service for the benefit of patients in the knowledge that we have such a strong foundation on which to build.”