CQC Inspection 2014

The North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust (NWAS) is pleased to confirm it has received a positive report from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following its inspection in August - the first pilot of the newly styled inspection regime for all ambulance services.

Four CQC teams, comprising over 60 inspectors, undertook a thorough and extensive review of the Trust’s operation and services, interviewing patients and staff as well as visiting stations, control rooms and speaking to other NHS Trusts, local Healthwatch and other partners about their working relationship with NWAS. 

The main themes of the inspection looked at whether NWAS was safe, effective, caring and responsive to patients’ needs and well led. 

The Trust was delighted to hear that the inspectors were impressed with everyone they met.  They observed exemplary care being given across the whole Trust.  They found the service to be clinically-led and focused on patients and outcomes and, most importantly, that staff treated patients and their families and carers in a caring manner with dignity and respect, and valued them as individuals.  

They also found that the Trust had in place systems, process and practices to keep people safe from harm. 

The inspectors could not overstate how impressed they were with the caring nature of the organisation and its staff.

Chief Executive, Bob Williams commented: “I am extremely proud of the staff who gave honest accounts of their working life and clearly demonstrated that the Trust’s main objective is the care of patients.  Providing care to a high standard with compassion and empathy is what an NHS organisation is all about and it is very heartening to hear that the CQC has observed this in action in the North West.”

Bob added:  “The Board and I were keen to be the first ambulance service to undergo this type of inspection and find out from an independent body what we are doing well and where we need to focus our future attention.  It is fantastic to receive this external endorsement and recognition of best practice as well as an understanding of the challenges we face which we will use to underpin our improvement plans.

The Trust received a Trust-wide report and detailed sections specific for each sub-regional area; Cheshire and Merseyside, Cumbria and Lancashire and Greater Manchester at a Quality Summit held on 25 November with the CQC, Monitor, Trust representatives, the Trust Development Authority, Commissioners and others to discuss the findings in detail and agree next steps.

Recommendations within the report included a review of the process for pre-alerting hospital accident and emergency departments to make sure that communication is sufficient for the receiving department to be made fully aware of the patient’s condition, and to provide access to clinical advice consistently across all control centres.  

In addition, the Trust had only one regulation compliance action to address, which relates to all staff having access to mandatory training; learning and development, appraisals and supervision.  

Following the inspection, the CQC acknowledged that they had learnt a huge amount from the Trust in how to approach future inspections for ambulance services going forward, and were very grateful to the Trust for volunteering to be its first site.  

The Trust has to submit an action plan detailing its improvement proposals in line with the CQC’s timeline. The CQC also acknowledged that a number of the actions could only be achieved with support from commissioners and other health care providers, including the use of available alternative services to A&E.

The full report and related downloads can be found here.