Thursday, 29 November 2018

Ambulance Service Placed into Special Measures by the CQC

England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals has rated SSG UK Specialist Ambulance Service – South as Inadequate and placed the service into special measures following its latest inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

A team of inspectors from the Care Quality Commission visited SSG UK Specialist Ambulance Service – South at Wickham Road, Fareham, Hampshire during August and September 2018 in response to concerns received relating to medicines, staffing, overall management of the service and one of the provider’s ambulances being involved in a road traffic collision.

SSG UK Specialist Ambulance Service – South provides both emergency and urgent care and patient transport services throughout the south-east. These services are commission by local NHS trusts.

Key Concerns 

  • Inspectors found that the overall management of medicines was not safe or line with legislation. Controlled drugs were not managed safely and as there were no regular audits SSG 
  • Records of medicines that were destroyed were incomplete and the provider could not provide any assurance that this was undertaken in line with legal requirement and the service’s guidance. 
  • The service could not provide an accurate count of staff who were employed or worked as bank staff, but thought there were around 650 staff recruited with 300 of these working on a regular basis.
  • There was no assurance that all staff working for the provider held a current disclosure barring service check and active professional registration.
  • Not all managers had the necessary skills, knowledge or experience to lead and develop the service. There was limited evidence they understood the challenges to service quality and overall sustainability of the service.
  • One of the secure vehicles used for the transport of mental health patients was not fit for purpose. The area that was used to transport patients, had a metal bench with no padding on the seat, this was rusty and patients had to sit directly on the metal.
  • There was limited evidence on how there was assurance that staff followed the restraint policy and protected patients from the risks of harm. The nine records for secure patients where restraint had been used showed that staff did not follow the full process.
  • There were no risks assessments completed and staff did not record a clear rationale for the use of restraint.
CQC Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Dr Nigel Acheson, said "“We are all well aware that our ambulance services are under a tremendous amount of pressure and scrutiny. However, when we inspected SSG UK Specialist Ambulance Service – South in August, we were extremely concerned at the disconnect we identified between the senior team and the staff working on the frontline. We saw no sign of a clear vision and strategy and a lack of response to the concerns we had previously raised."

“On the basis of this inspection, we have placed this provider into special measures. That means that SSG UK Specialist Ambulance Service – South will be inspected again within six months. We are currently engaging with the provider and monitoring the service very closely. If insufficient improvements have been made, we will take action in line with our enforcement procedures.”

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