The culture at a long-troubled ambulance trust is ‘worsening, not improving’, its staff have told a health watchdog.
Concerns about culture and patient safety at East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) were raised to inspectors at the Care Quality Commission (CQC) during an inspection of the trust last month, according to public documents.
In a feedback letter to the trust following the inspection, the CQC said staffing at EEAST’s control room was below planned levels, and the inspectors were “not assured that staffing levels met the demands within the service and this may impact on patient safety when managing the high volume of calls”.
The trust, which is in the equivalent of special measures and currently rated “requires improvement” by the CQC, has had long-standing cultural problems and last year signed a legal agreement with the Equality and Human Rights Commission on how it would protect staff from sexual harassment.
According to the feedback letter, staff described a “worsening, not improving, culture” and said the workforce was “tired” and not receiving mandatory training, one-to-ones with managers or appraisals.
The letter, published in the trust’s latest board papers, also reported inspectors raising concerns about potential risks to patients over the management of the trust’s call stack and a lack of consistency over “standard operating procedures”.
Additionally, some staff in the control room on an accelerated training programme were unable to undertake full patient assessments and had to call for assistance from others.
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Source: HSJ, 11 May 2022