Ambulance Service Has Insufficient Staff To Meet The Needs of Patients In "Timely Manner" According to Health Watchdog

Care Quality Commission Has Called For Improvements To Manage “Unrelenting Demand”


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

East Midlands Ambulance Service has "insufficient staff" to meet the needs of patients in a "timely manner" according to a report by the Care Quality Commission.

Professor Sir Mike Richards, the CQC's chief inspector of hospitals, said East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) required improvement.

The report said that while people were cared for and treated well, there were insufficient staff and a lack of appropriate skill-mix to meet the needs of patients in a timely manner.

He said: "There was an unrelenting demand for emergency services combined with a lack of staff and resources to meet the need.”

East Midlands Ambulance Service Trust was told to ensure there are sufficient emergency vehicles to safely meet demand. Response times should also meet the needs of patients by reaching national targets, the report said.

Reports in the press last month revealed that EMAS had gone almost £12m over budget in the last financial year and had to take out an additional loan to help with running costs.

The CQC report did acknowledge that staff were committed to providing high quality, safe care despite suffering from low morale.

The service serves about 4.8m people across Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland and receives about 2,000 calls a day.

Inspectors saw some "outstanding practice", the report said.

Expert Opinion
“Every patient and their family should expect to receive a timely response when they call an ambulance as, in an emergency, every second counts.

“Although ambulance trusts have a very difficult task in managing their current resources to best effect, the Care Quality Commission’s report findings are troubling from a patient safety perspective and we hope that issues the CQC has highlighted can lead to improvements.

“It is important to note that the CQC also acknowledged that staff were committed to providing high quality, safe care despite suffering from low morale. And of course the vast majority of NHS staff do an outstanding job in often the most trying of circumstances, and while under threat of reductions in resources and budget. But there are cases when patients suffer harm which, with the correct level of service, could have been entirely avoided.”
Sarah Rowland, Partner