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Loophole in the law leaves patients at risk of abuse and sexual assault

PUBLISHED

A loophole in the law is leaving vulnerable patients at risk of abuse and sexual assault by unregulated private ambulance staff, The Independent has revealed.

While many private ambulance providers are regulated, a small number, such as those providing services at events, those providing first aid, and those who are subcontracted, fall outside the reach of the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

This is due to a loophole in the legislation, which means that organisations providing healthcare at events are not required to be CQC registered.

The Independent has learned that around 10,000 patients a day are seen by ambulance workers who are unregulated and not part of any registered professional body.

Alan Howson, chief executive of the Independent Ambulance Association, said he was concerned about healthcare providers that “operate outside of the scope” of the care watchdog and in “plain sight and unchecked”, leaving patients at risk from staff who might “seek to misuse their power”.

His concerns were in response to an internal report by the CQC, completed last year, which identified specific risks around sexual harm in relation to private providers, as well as “inconsistency” in providers’ recording of incidents.

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Source: The Independent, 14 November 2021

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