Responding to the CQC quality report published today (5 October 2016), Ken Wenman, chief executive of South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) says:
“The ‘outstanding’ care rating for staff based in our clinical hubs handling 999 calls, and our ambulance crews and first responders out on the roads across the south west, is well deserved and recognises the amazing patient care delivered every day, around the clock. Clinical hub staff are often the first point of contact with the ambulance service and their ‘outstanding compassion, kindness and respect towards caller and patients, often under a high level of pressure’ has rightly been recognised by the CQC.
Their dedication, professionalism and ‘grace’ when working under ‘extreme pressure’, together with the ‘numerous examples’ of ambulance crews going the extra mile for patient comfort, along with their passion for patient care and wellbeing, is something I’m extremely proud of.
The overall rating of ‘outstanding’ for resilience planning reflects the robust systems in place to deliver high quality support for major incidents, large public events and special operations. This function also encompasses our hazardous area response teams (HART) and air ambulance provision throughout our diverse region, and the dedicated and committed staff working within it. No other ambulance trust has received an ‘outstanding’ rating for resilience, so it is an achievement we are extremely pleased with.
We make every effort to encourage feedback from patients and I’m assured that the CQC inspection team, without exception, received only positive comments from patients, something I’m told is almost unheard of.
Where there are specific lessons to be learnt from the report we will of course take the necessary actions to make positive changes and improvements.”
Overall the Trust received four ‘outstanding’ ratings, 17 ‘good’, eight ‘requires improvement’ and one ‘inadequate’.
SWASFT dealt with 911,000 incidents last year. The Trust is experiencing an unprecedented rise in demand, and is dealing with more than 500 additional incidents a day, on average, compared with five years ago.
The Trust’s rate of 56.8% of incidents closed without conveyance [being taken] to an emergency department makes it the best performing in England. And of those patients that are taken to an emergency department nearly 63% are admitted, again the highest performance in England.
Since the inspection in June 2016, SWASFT has already:
- Agreed a more proactive approach to releasing staff for mandatory training.
- Reminded all staff of the importance of reporting all incidents of violence or aggression, as well as re-flagging all our staff support mechanisms in place. And has proactively worked with local media to raise public awareness of what staff are faced with while on duty.
- Enhanced its Staying Well Service with further mental health practitioner support.
- Improved the quality of My Career Conversation, SWASFT’s appraisal system, with further assurance and oversight to improve.
- Rolled out the new medicines management system Trust-wide.