The CQC conducted a focused inspection in April, looking at the trust’s emergency and urgent response and 999 and 111 call centres.
It was part of overall inspections looking at the broader health and social care system within Lancashire and South Cumbria, Cheshire and Merseyside to understand how services respond to the challenges we face as individual providers.
Although this was not a ‘ratings’ inspection, the summary of the findings was positive overall, with some recommendations for learning and improvement going forward.
The assessment took place against a backdrop of increased pressure on the health service; however, inspectors said that we took action to manage an increase in demand by increasing the number of 999 call handlers and by securing aid from the volunteer ambulance service and the military. Also commended was our work with our healthcare partners to reduce the number of patients taken to emergency departments and to improve handover delays.
Among the other findings, inspectors noted the care and compassion our ambulance crews and call handlers showed to patients. In addition, they highlighted an area of outstanding practice when the trust supported transporting 21 Ukrainian children with cancer to the UK to receive care in the NHS.
Salman Desai, Deputy CEO at NWAS, said: “Emergency and urgent care services across the country have been working under significant pressures for several months. Despite the increased demand, we are pleased to see such positive service feedback from the recent CQC inspection. Of course, we continue to look to get better, and we’re already taking action alongside our healthcare partners to improve the experience for patients and ensure they receive the care they need as quickly as possible.”
Other findings include:
Emergency and urgent care (999)
- The inspectors noted our service improvements, including the digital and innovation station in Cumbria, improvements which have increased efficiently of crews and in turn increased the time ambulance crews were on the road.
- Our commitment to working with trusts within the Integrated Care systems (ICSs) to reduce the number of patients coming to emergency departments and improving delayed handovers was praised by inspectors.
Emergency operations centre (EOC – 999 and clinical hub)
- Our staff treated patients with compassion and kindness, respected their privacy and dignity, and took account of their individual needs. The service planned and worked to provide care in a way that met the needs of local people and the communities served. It also worked with others in the wider system and local organisations to plan care. Most people could access the service when they needed it, in line with national standards, and received the right care in a timely way.
- The report also noted within the trust’s emergency contact centres, call answering times had consistently met national averages over the last two years.
- The report identified that 111 had good systems to manage risk so that safety incidents were less likely to happen.
- Patients were able to access care and treatment from the service within an appropriate timescale for their needs.
To read the full reports visit the CQC website.