27 November 2015
Today (Friday 27 November) the Care Quality Commission
(CQC) published its report following a planned inspection of London
Ambulance Service in June.
While the report gives the Service a ‘good’ rating for its care
of patients, it highlights a number of areas of concern and judges
the Service to be ‘inadequate’ overall and the NHS Trust
Development Authority is placing the Service into special
Chief Executive, Dr Fionna Moore MBE, said: “While we are
pleased that our caring and compassionate staff have been
recognised in this report, we are sorry we have fallen short of
some of the standards CQC and Londoners expect of us.
“As the newly appointed chief executive, I am, along with my
leadership team, completely focussed on addressing the challenges
highlighted in this report.
“We accept that we need to improve the way we measure and
monitor some important standards and processes but we would like to
reassure Londoners that we always prioritise our response to our
most critically ill and injured patients and, in the event of a
major incident, we are ready to respond and CQC recognise
The Service is aware of many of the issues raised in this report
and is already taking action. For example:
- The report says that when the Service was inspected it did not
have enough staff. However, since the inspection we have 167
additional frontline staff responding to incidents in London and
over 200 staff are in training and under supervision while our
recruitment campaign continues. More staff will help take some of
the pressure from our work force, who work incredibly hard in often
- While the Service is not meeting government targets,
performance is improving and ambulance crews now reach 77 per cent
of the most critically ill and injured patients within ten
- The report says that the Service needs to improve staffing and
culture. Dr Moore and her executive team recently met 900 people
during staff road shows and the discussion and feedback from these
sessions will influence programmes of work over the coming
- CQC say that resilience is inadequate; however since the
inspection in June, the Service has reviewed its major incident
plan and is confident it can respond to a Paris style attack in
London. It regularly tests its major incident response with
London’s emergency services and NHS partners and recently took part
in Exercise Strong Tower with 120 ambulance staff over two
- The reports says that some of the Service’s vehicles are not up
to standard but it has recently invested £14m on 104 new ambulances
to reduce break downs which result in vehicles being out of
service. And the Service is expecting 60 new fast response cars to
be delivered by March 2016.
- CQC was critical of the Service’s medicine management
arrangements, however since the inspection in June it has appointed
a medicine safety officer and executive lead on the Trust
- And it gave the trust an inadequate rating for well led, but
since the inspection in June the Service has new leadership teams
in place that are resolutely determined to tackle the issues raised
in this report and create a positive working environment for
Dr Moore said: “While we haven’t always got it right for our
staff or responded quickly enough to the challenges we faced, we
are beginning to see the benefits of many of the changes we have
introduced. For example, we have more staff joining the service
than leaving, our performance is improving and I have personally
met 900 ambulance crews, control room and support staff recently
during our road shows.”
As well as some areas of concern - the CQC report also
highlights what the Service does well: For example:
- that patients in London receive good clinical care
- ambulance staff are caring and compassionate
- Paramedics and nurses in our control room give good advice to
frontline staff while the Service’s intelligence conveyance system
prevents overload of ambulances at any one hospital.
- In the event of a major incident the Service has clear systems
and plans in place and an alert system for staff who have proved
they are always keen to respond – even when not on duty.
- The Service has effective systems to manage large scale events
such as Notting Hill Carnival and the central London New Year’s Eve
- And staff were positive about local leadership and said the
management style of the new chief executive would improve the
service and staff retention.
Dr Moore said: “We take being put in special measures seriously
and value the additional support this will offer us. It will mean
the progress we have already made will be accelerated.
“We’re pleased to have the opportunity to work with Defence
Medical Services (DMS), which provides medical care to the armed
forces. DMS recognises the complex operational challenges the
Service faces and have offered their expertise to help us develop
an education programme to address some of these issues.
“We will also work with the Trust Development Authority and our
other partners to put processes in place to address the concerns
raised in this report.”
- Ends -
Notes to editors:
- London Ambulance Service receives 1.9 million emergency calls a
year and responds to 1.1 million incidents in the capital.
- On 2 December the CQC will present its findings to a local
Quality Summit including NHS commissioners, providers, regulators
and other public bodies.
- In October 2015 our category A performance was 65 per cent
compared to 57 per cent in the same period last year.
- For further information about the London Ambulance Service or
this news release please contact the communications department on
020 7783 2286.
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