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Found 313 results
  1. News Article
    Ambulance chiefs have warned that patients are coming to harm, paramedics are being assaulted and control room staff reporting a “high stakes game of chicken” with police during the implementation of a controversial new national care model. The Association of Ambulance Chief Executives say in a newly published letter they believe the “spirit” of national agreement on how to implement the Right Care, Right Person model is not being followed by police, raising “significant safety concerns”. The membership body set out multiple concerns about the rollout of the model, under which the police refuse to attend mental health calls unless there is a risk to life or of serious harm. In the letter to Commons health and social care committee chair Steve Brine, AACE chair Daren Mochrie says timescales for introducing it were often “set by the police rather than “agreed” following meaningful engagement with partners”, meaning demand was shifting before health systems had built capacity. They also flag a lack of NHS funding to meet the new asks. Mr Mochrie, also CEO of North West Ambulance Service Trust, described a “grey area” relating to what he called “concern for welfare” calls, which meet neither the police nor attendance services’ threshold for attendance. “To date this is the single biggest feedback theme we have heard from ambulance services, with some control room staff describing feeling like they’re in a ‘high-stakes game of chicken’ where the police have refused to attend and told the caller to hang up, redial 999 and ask for an ambulance,” he wrote. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 20 February 2024
  2. Content Article
    In this open letter to Steve Brine, Chair of the Health and Social Committee, The Association of Ambulance Chief Executives say they believe the “spirit” of national agreement on how to implement the Right Care, Right Person model is not being followed by police, raising “significant safety concerns”. It outlines key concerns, including the timescales for implementation, the consistency of application and failure by the police to attend when required.
  3. News Article
    Ambulance trusts have often prioritised capacity and response times over dealing with cases of misconduct, a review of culture in the sector for NHS England has found. The review says ambulance trusts need to “establish clear standards and procedures to address misconduct”. The work was carried out by Siobhan Melia, who is Sussex Community Healthcare Trust CEO, and was seconded to be South East Coast Ambulance Service Foundation Trust interim chief from summer 2022 to spring last year. Her report says bullying and harassment – including sexual harassment – are “deeply rooted” in ambulance trusts, and made worse by organisational and psychological barriers, with inconsistencies in holding offenders to account and a failure to tackle repeat offenders. She says “cultural assessments” of three trusts by NHSE had found “competing pressures often lead to poor behaviours, with capacity prioritisation overshadowing misconduct management”, adding: “Staff shortages and limited opportunities for development mean that any work beyond direct clinical care is seen as a luxury or is rushed. “Despite this, there is a clear link between positive organisational culture and improved patient outcomes. However, trusts often focus on meeting response time standards for urgent calls, whilst sidelining training, professional development, and research.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 15 February 2024
  4. Content Article
    This is an independent review commissioned by NHS England, chaired by Siobhan Melia, Chief Executive, Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, to support the improvement of the culture within the ambulance service. The review considers the prevailing culture within ambulance trusts in England. It considers the core factors impacting cultural norms and offers actionable recommendations for improvement. Based on insights from key stakeholders, this review has identified six key recommendations to improve the culture in ambulance trusts.
  5. News Article
    The first time she was groped at work, Freya says she was 24 years old, a newly qualified paramedic, and was cleaning out the cupboards of the ambulance station crew room. "He came behind me without me realising. I was cleaning away, and he put his hands around my body and grabbed my breasts," said Freya, which is not her real name. "Then he said, 'Well, I won't bother doing that again'. "People just laughed, some didn't even look up from the TV. Like it was nothing, completely normal." Her story mirrors that of other current and former paramedics who, in several interviews with Sky News, painted a picture of widespread sexual harassment and a toxic culture of misogyny. The head of the College of Paramedics, Tracy Nicholls, said: "Problems exist in every [NHS] trust, across all four countries in the United Kingdom." NHS England told Sky News that any form of sexual misconduct was "completely unacceptable" and every trust had committed to an action plan to improve sexual safety. Laura - not her real name - is currently a paramedic for a different ambulance service. She describes sexual harassment as "incessant" in the profession. She says students and new recruits are routinely referred to as "fresh meat", subjected to sexual comments, questions and jokes - even in front of patients - and are continually sexualised by some male colleagues. "It's exhausting," she said. "You come to work wanting to help your patients but every day you're dealing with inappropriate behaviour and sexual comments." Read full story Source: Sky News, 8 February 2024
  6. News Article
    Reductions in the number of long ambulance delays have come at a “huge cost” as hospitals are having to take in more emergency patients than they have space for, NHS England’s urgent care director has said. Sarah-Jane Marsh told NHS England’s board meeting on Thursday that emergency departments and hospital wards are now taking more “risk” by taking extra patients in a bid to get ambulances back on the road quicker. This year, many fewer hours have been lost to ambulance delays, although the total number of delays of more than 60 minutes is approaching the same as last winter. Emergency department waits in November and December were better than last year, although still much worse than pre-covid and a long way below targets. But Ms Marsh said the improvement was a result of hospitals agreeing to take more patients into EDs and acute wards, even when they did not have space or staff to properly care for them. She said: “It’s come at a huge cost. Some of the things we have achieved are because we have moved pressures around in the system. “We have moved risk out of people’s houses and from the back of ambulances, and in some cases we’ve moved that into emergency departments [and] wards, that have had to take the pressure of taking additional patients. “Next year one of our learnings is that we need to have a really big focus on what is happening inside our hospitals [so] we decongest some very crowded areas.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 1 February 2024
  7. Content Article
    Expecting paramedics to wade through shared care records is unsafe and inefficient. In an emergency, access to essential information has to be easy and fast, writes Claire Jones from NHS England South West. Whilst ambulance services may need access to the entire longitudinal record, it is imperative that in those first vital minutes of an emergency they have the most pertinent and relevant data at their fingertips. In such cases, information sharing can be a matter of life or death. We should make it as easy as possible for emergency care providers to access and view relevant information about the person in their care.
  8. News Article
    Paramedics are "watching their patients die in the back of ambulances because they can't get them into A&E", according to the health union, Unison. It was commenting on data showing 2,750 hours were lost by ambulance crews waiting to hand over patients at Hull Royal Infirmary in October 2023. One crew was stuck outside A&E for 10 hours and 27 minutes. Hull University Teaching Hospitals said it was "confident" a new urgent treatment centre on the hospital site would "improve overall waiting times" and lost ambulance hours had "reduced notably" this month. The figures, obtained by the BBC through a freedom of information request, showed on 9 October 2023 ambulance crews lost 144 hours and 18 minutes, the equivalent to one crew being out of action for six full days and nights. Megan Ollerhead, Unison's ambulance lead in Yorkshire, said paramedics were "literally watching their patients die in the back of these ambulances because they can't get into A and E." "I talk to a lot of the people who receive the 999 calls in the control rooms and they're just listening to people begging for ambulances and they know there are none to send." Read full story Source: BBC News, 26 January 2024
  9. Content Article
    On the 9 December 2022, Dennis John William King suffered sudden chest pain which extended down his arm. His wife called 999 and spoke with an ambulance service call handler. Following triage of the call, the response to Mr King's call was graded as a Category 3 (a potentially urgent condition which is not life threatening with a target response of 120 minutes). This call was subsequently re-graded following review in the call centre to a Category 2 (a potentially serious condition requiring rapid assessment, urgent on scene intervention or transport to hospital, with a response within 40 minutes and a target of 18 minutes).   Upon hearing that the waiting time for an ambulance could be as long as six hour, Mr and Mrs King decided to make their own way to the West Suffolk Hospital. The ambulance service were advised and the response stood down.   Within 40 minutes of arrival Mr King had been diagnosed as suffering an ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). Treating clinicians assessed his condition as necessitating an urgent transfer to the Royal Papworth and for the angioplasty procedure to be conducted forthwith. The ambulance call centre was contacted by the hospital emergency department with a request for an urgent transfer to the Royal Papworth. Emergency department staff were advised that there would be a 5 hour delay for an ambulance to attend. The call from the hospital emergency department to the ambulance service was graded by the ambulance call handler as a category 2 response. When the response timing was challenged the emergency department matron was advised that the hospital was a place of safety. The ambulance call handler assessment did not seem to take into account the clinical assessment of accident and emergency department staff who, in consultation with the regional cardiac intervention hospital, had determined Mr King's further treatment at the regional cardiac centre was a matter of urgency. An ambulance subsequently arrived at West Suffolk Hospital Accident and Emergency Department and transferred Mr King to the Royal Papworth Hospital where he underwent treatment for what was identified as an occluded left anterior descending artery. About 1 hour after the procedure, Mr King's condition deteriorated and he suffered a left ventricular wall rupture, a recognised complication of either the myocardial infarction he had suffered or the surgical procedure to correct the occluded artery, or both. He received emergency surgery to repair the rupture by way of a patch which was successful. However, his condition deteriorated and he died on the 13 December 2022. The medical cause of death was confirmed as: 1a Multi Organ Failure 1b Post myocardial infarction left ventricular free wall rupture (operated on).
  10. News Article
    The availability of ambulances to transfer patients to specialist units is a "matter of concern", a coroner has warned. Darren Stewart, area coroner for Suffolk, made the comments in a Prevention of Future Deaths report. It followed the death of 84-year-old Dennis King, who waited three hours to be transferred from West Suffolk Hospital to Royal Papworth in 2022. Mr King had made his own way to the West Suffolk Hospital's accident and emergency department in December 2022, after being told an ambulance could take six hours to arrive at his home due to high demand in the area, the report said. His call had been graded as category two, which should have led to a response within 40 minutes - or a target of 18 minutes. After tests at West Suffolk Hospital showed Mr King had suffered a STEMI heart attack, emergency clinicians liaised with experts from the regional heart unit and decided he needed an urgent transfer to Royal Papworth in Cambridgeshire. The report said a matron at West Suffolk told ambulance call handlers they needed an urgent transfer - but because Mr King was classed as being in a "place of safety", control room staff said the delay would be "several hours". Mr Stewart said: "the availability of ambulances to carry out transfers in a timely manner, in urgent cases" was "a matter of concern". In the report, Mr Stewart said the circumstances of the case "raised concerns about the NHS approach to centralising care in regional centres" if the means to deliver it were "inadequate". Read full story Source: BBC News, 23 January 2024
  11. News Article
    Patients have suffered cardiac arrests while waiting in A&E departments or in ambulances queueing outside because Scottish hospitals are overwhelmed, doctors have warned. At least three cases in which patients’ hearts stopped beating while they were waiting for care have been reported to the Royal College of Emergency Medicine in Scotland. Some of the incidents, the college said, may have been preventable. One frontline doctor told The Times that a patient with heart problems had died waiting in a queue of ambulances outside an emergency department. Staff could not take the patient inside because there was no capacity. JP Loughrey, vice-president of the college and an A&E consultant in the west of Scotland, said that people who should be in resuscitation rooms with a team of experts and equipment to monitor their vital signs were instead lying in ambulances outside hospital buildings. He also said that tensions were growing between frontline staff and NHS managers in large hospitals because doctors and nurses, who were already struggling to cope, were under increasing demands to work harder to process more patients. Read full story Source: The Times, 19 January 2024
  12. Content Article
    Patients treated and transported by Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) are prone to both flight and medical hazards, but incident reporting differs substantially between flight organisations and healthcare, and the extent of patient safety incidents is still unclear. This study in the Journal of Patient Safety is based on in-depth interviews with eight experienced Norwegian HEMS physicians from four different bases from February to July 2020. The study aimed to explore the physicians’ experience with incident reporting and their perceived areas of risk in HEMS. The authors concluded that sparse, informal and fragmented incident reporting provides a poor overview of patient safety risks in HEMS. A focus on organisational factors and system responsibility is needed to further improve patient safety in HEMS, alongside research on environmental and contextual factors.
  13. News Article
    The Welsh Ambulance Service is struggling to cope as many A&E departments are full and some patients have reportedly been waiting to be offloaded from ambulances for as long as 15 hours. The service has issued a plea for the public to "use 999 responsibly" amid severe pressure. An employee of the service said: "Nearly every A&E department is at capacity. Patients have been on ambulances for the last 15 hours. The ambulance service is only responding to red [immediately life-threatening] calls." The service has received almost 13,000 calls to 999 since Boxing Day and there have been almost 36,000 calls to the NHS 111 Wales service. Lee Brooks, the ambulance service’s operations boss, said: “Pent-up demand from the Christmas and New Year period, coupled with the seasonal illnesses we see at this time of year, means there are lots of people across Wales trying to access health services currently. When hospitals are at full capacity, it means ambulances can’t admit their patients, and while they’re tied up at emergency departments, other patients in the community are waiting a long time for our help, especially if their condition isn’t life-threatening. “We’re working really hard as a system to deliver the best possible care to patients, but our ask of the public today – and in the coming days – is only to call 999 if they are seriously ill or injured, or where there is an immediate threat to someone’s life. That’s people who’ve stopped breathing, people with chest pain or breathing difficulties, loss of consciousness, choking, severe allergic reactions, catastrophic bleeding or someone who is having a stroke." Read full story Source: Wales Online, 3 January 2024
  14. News Article
    Ambulance handover delays rose last week with close to 13,000 crews waiting more than an hour to offload patients — marginally more than the comparable week last year. Week of 27 November 2023 figures were missing data for several days from some trusts, NHSE said. The number of hour-plus waits for ambulancs to pass patients to emergency departments was 12,797, according to new NHS England data. That appeared to be steeply up from about 8,000 in the past two weeks, although NHSE said last week’s was not directly comparable due to missing data. It was just ahead of the 12,534 recorded for the week ending 11 December last year. Last year the numbers rose to over 16,000 in the third week in December then peaked at 18,720 in the week running up to New Year, in what many said was the worst winter crisis for decades, amid a sharp, early wave of flu. This year the numbers of long waits have risen earlier than last, and several ambulance trusts have reported coming under severe pressure in the last few days. NHS England has warned junior doctors strikes next week and in the new year may compound hospital flow problems. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 15 December 2023
  15. News Article
    Ministers must intervene over systemic failures which are “too big for hospital or ambulance trusts to fix on their own” and have led to multiple preventable deaths, a senior coroner has warned. In a move usually considered rare for such an official, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly coroner Andrew Cox has written to the Department of Health and Social Care a second time over ongoing delays to ambulance responses and long ambulance handovers in the area. Last year he warned the NHS was “broken” after he ruled ambulance and emergency care delays contributed to the deaths of four people. Now, he has sent a similar report on the same types of failings in the deaths of John Seagrove, Pauline Humphris, and Patricia Steggles at Royal Cornwall Hospital to new health secretary Victoria Atkins. Mr Cox wrote: “I set out in my [prevention of future death report] last year my understanding of the reasons for the difficulties that are continuing in the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly coroner area. I do not believe those reasons will have changed significantly. ”The challenges are systemic in nature. They are too big for a single doctor, nurse or paramedic to fix. They are too big for either the hospital trust or the ambulance trust to fix on their own.” Read full story Source: HSJ, 1 December 2023
  16. News Article
    Almost 8,000 people were harmed and 112 died last year as a direct result of enduring long waits for an ambulance or surgery, prompting warnings that NHS care delays are “a disaster”. The fatalities included a man who died of a cardiac arrest after waiting 18 minutes for his 999 call to be answered by the ambulance service and was dead by the time the crew arrived. The figures are the first time NHS England has disclosed how often doctors and nurses file a patient safety report after someone suffers harm while waiting for help. They show that patient deaths arising directly from care delays have risen more than fivefold over the last three years, from 21 in 2019 to 112 last year, as the NHS has come under huge strain. The number of people who came to “severe harm” has also jumped from 96 to 152 during that period. “These data are alarming and show quite clearly the human impact the crisis in the NHS is having on individual patients,” said Rachel Power, the chief executive of the Patients Association. “We have been watching a disaster unfolding across the NHS and have repeatedly warned about the threat to patient safety because of it.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 27 November 2023
  17. News Article
    Three patients died after delayed transfers from a private hospital within a nine-month period, coroner’s findings reveal. Three prevention of future deaths reports reviewed by HSJ raised concerns about the deaths of patients whose transfer from Spire’s Norwich facility to the NHS hospital in the same city was delayed. The sites, which are one mile apart, are run by £1bn-turnover private company Spire Healthcare and Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals Foundation Trust respectively. Read full story Source: HSJ, 15 November 2023 Prevention of Future Deaths reports: Geoffrey Hoad (13 September 2023) Prevention of Future Deaths report: Christina Ruse (3 October 2022) Prevention of Future Deaths report: Barbara Hollis (3 October 2022)
  18. Content Article
    Christina Ruse was admitted to the Spire Hospital on 14 December 2021 and underwent a total left hip replacement. Her condition deteriorated and observations were commenced at five minute intervals. Mrs Ruse was reviewed and on further deterioration in her condition it was decided to transfer her to the High Dependency Unit, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. On arrival of the ambulance Mrs Ruse was undergoing a further investigatory procedure. On this being completed Mrs Ruse was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, where her condition continued to deteriorate and she died on 15 December 2021.
  19. Content Article
    Barbara Hollis underwent a total left knee replacement operation on 22 February 2022. The surgery was uneventful with no complications, however after her return to the ward Mrs Hollis became restless and confused. Following a review of her deteriorating condition the decision was made to transfer her to the High Dependency Unit at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Arrangements were made for the transfer and the ambulance service was called at 19.51 and were told that immediate clinical intervention was needed, but the agreed hospital to hospital transfer pathway was not followed. There was a two hour delay in ambulance attendance, during which time Mrs Hollis continued to deteriorate. Mrs Hollis was subsequently taken to the High Dependency Unit at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital where her condition continued to deteriorate and she died in the early hours of the 23 February 2022.
  20. News Article
    An ambulance trust has apologised after a patient who was declared "dead" later woke up in hospital. As first reported by The Northern Echo, the individual was taken by paramedics to Darlington Memorial Hospital on Friday. The newspaper reported they had been declared dead following an incident earlier that day. The North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) apologised to the patient's family and said an inquiry had begun. The patient has not been identified or their current condition revealed. NEAS director of paramedicine Andrew Hodge said: "As soon as we were made aware of this incident, we opened an investigation and contacted the patient's family. "We are deeply sorry for the distress that this has caused them. "A full review of this incident is being undertaken and we are unable to comment any further at this stage. "The colleagues involved are being supported appropriately and we will not be commenting further about any individuals at this point." Read full story Source: BBC News, 17 October 2023
  21. News Article
    An ambulance spent 28 hours outside a hospital after an "extraordinary incident" was declared due to delays. The Welsh Ambulance Service said 16 ambulances had waited outside the emergency department at Morriston Hospital, Swansea, at one time. It said multiple sites across Wales were affected. The extraordinary incident, which asked people to only call 990 if their emergency was "life or limb threatening", is now over. Read full story Source: BBC News, 23 October 2023
  22. News Article
    An ambulance spent 28 hours outside a hospital after an "extraordinary incident" was declared due to delays. The Welsh Ambulance Service said 16 ambulances had waited outside the emergency department at Morriston Hospital, Swansea, at one time. It said multiple sites across Wales were affected, "specifically" in the Swansea Bay health board area. Lee Brooks, director of operations, told BBC Radio Wales Breakfast the situation was "heart-breaking". The service said people should only call 999 if their emergency was "life or limb threatening". Judith Bryce, assistant director of operations at the Welsh Ambulance Service, said on Sunday the service was experiencing "patient handover delays outside of emergency departments. This is taking its toll on our ability to respond within the community." Read full story Source: BBC News, 23 October 2023
  23. News Article
    Ambulance chiefs say handover delays have got worse at some trusts in recent months, despite the picture improving nationally since last winter. A report from the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives says there are continuing concerns about handover delays at emergency departments. Jason Killens, the body’s lead chief executive for operations, told HSJ: “There’s been some improvement [at some sites] since February, but what we’ve also seen is a commensurate or bigger decay in other sites across that same period.” Mr Killens said “it’s difficult to be precise” about why some trusts have struggled more than others but that challenged hospitals are often affected by “pathway issues” including delayed discharges. “And then maybe there are challenges around stable leadership or the visibility of the leadership, the culture there about managing that risk dynamically, and so on,” he added. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 14 September 2023
  24. Content Article
    The Care Quality Commission (CQC) State of Care is an annual assessment of health care and social care in England. The report looks at the trends, shares examples of good and outstanding care, and highlights where care needs to improve.
  25. Content Article
    The Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE) and the Office of the Chief Allied Health Professions Officer (CAHPO) have launched three publications aimed at reducing misogyny and improving sexual safety in the ambulance service.
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