CQC praises Trust for “Outstanding” Care

Date: 04 July 2018


Inspectors rated ambulance staff ‘outstanding’ for caring following a visit from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) during one of the busiest winters the NHS has known.

The CQC said the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust had made some progress in areas including safeguarding, staff’s understanding of the Mental Capacity Act and incident reporting procedures. Inspectors also saw evidence of “staff going the extra mile to ensure that patients were cared for.”

The CQC released its report (read in full on the CQC website) today (4th July) following an inspection of the Trust in March this year during what has been described as the worst winter on record for the NHS.

The CQC monitors, inspects and regulates all NHS services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety. The Trust’s inspection looked at three core services: emergency operation centres (EOC) where 999 calls are taken, urgent and emergency care including the hazardous area response team, and patient transport services.

While the Trust was rated as ‘requires improvement’ overall, the Trust was pleased to see that the CQC had recognised improvement across some of the individual areas of rating..

Chief Executive Robert Morton said: “Yet again our staff were rated as ‘outstanding’ for caring. The team inspected our Trust during the most challenging winter for the NHS on record, and just weeks after a risk summit called for the NHS system in the region to work together to improve patient experience. We worked with all our regulators, including the CQC, from very early on in this period to ensure we were open and honest with all the challenges we were facing and how we were leading the system to improve services to patients.

“The improvements the CQC saw were in some areas of the Patient Transport Services and our Emergency Operations Centres where we handle and triage 999 calls. I’d like to thank everyone who welcomed the inspection team and gave their views, supported our colleagues in providing a wealth of data and information to the CQC before, during and after the inspection, and represented the ‘We Are EEAST’ approach to our caring and compassionate work.”

Further conclusions the report drew were:

  • Different roles and organisations worked well together as a team to benefit patients. Crews and control centre staff supported each other and worked well with staff from other organisations to prove effective care.
  • Staff in the emergency and urgent care service displayed outstanding patient centred care.
  • The Trust cared for patients with compassion, treating them with dignity and respect.
  • Patients, families and carers gave positive feedback about the care they received from the Trust.
  • Staff involved patients and those close to them in decisions about their care and treatment.
  • Staff provided emotional support to patients to minimise their distress.
  • The Trust comprehensively managed complaints and ensured staff had opportunities to learn from when things went wrong without fear of retribution.
  • The clinical app was an excellent resource for staff in ensuring they had the most up to date clinical guidance and access to information about care pathways in different areas of the trust.
  • The Freedom to Speak Up Guardians were passionate about giving staff any support they needed to raise concerns and have them addressed.
  • Everyone at the Trust worked together as a team for the benefit of patients.

Robert added: “The CQC inspected the Trust at a time when staff were extremely tired and under pressure.. There will always be room for improvement. We are aware of the many challenges we face here in the east. Engaging with our staff, across a virtual organisation which is spread out across a an area of 7,500 square miles, can be a huge task. Our workforce are highly mobile and travel approx 12 million miles a year supporting or delivering the best care we can to patients. We are working to ensure the leaders at every level in our organisation are given the time and space to build effective, communicative teams at a local level – particularly during tough periods like winter. Given the highly virtual and mobile nature of our workforce, we must be innovative about how we can engage our workforce who do not work in a single large site like a hospital.

 “We are a united Board-level team with a wide range of expertise and experience to help us strengthen our service and help EEAST remain focused on our patients. The care we provide for them means we’re in the best position ever to provide the modern, high-quality and sustainable health services our communities need. With the right investment, including £11.5m of additional funding this year - we will get better and better.”




  • Summary:

    Inspectors rated ambulance staff ‘outstanding’ for caring following a visit from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) during one of the busiest winters the NHS has known.