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East of England Ambulance Service Trust, which serves Sudbury, 'requires improvement'

East of England Ambulance Service Trust, which operates in Sudbury, still ‘requires improvement’, a review has found.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said the service did not have enough staff, breached training regulations, recorded poor response times and had not adequately responded to some staff complaints.

A sobering report released on Wednesday noted improvements in some areas of service, but saw the trust maintain the same overall rating of ‘requires improvement’ recorded in 2016.

East of England Ambulance. (14574133)
East of England Ambulance. (14574133)

The report stated: “The rating for well-led had declined from requires improvement to inadequate.

“There continued to be a mixed culture at the trust and not all staff felt that concerns were listened to. There was instability within the senior leadership team with some key leaders in interim positions.”

The CQC completed the snap inspection from April 10 to May 2.

Factfile (14559945)
Factfile (14559945)

The service was recognised as ‘outstanding’ for the care it provided and ‘good’ for being responsive.

However, it ‘requires improvement’ in both the safe and effective categories.

The report added: “The services still did not have enough staff to care for patients and keep them safe despite a focus on recruitment and retention. Not all staff consistently received mandatory training.

“People continued to wait too long for services and response times although improved, continued to be worse than the England average.”

Factfile (14561919)
Factfile (14561919)

The trust released a positive statement this morning in response to the report, which praised the work of staff and set out four areas for the board to focus on.

These include creating a stable leadership team including recruiting a permanent chairman and chief executive, embedding governance and risk processes across the trust, and further improving staff engagement and the trust culture.

Dorothy Hosein was installed as interim chief executive in November 2018, a move the CQC said helped ‘the trust strategy to drive improvements’.

She said: “I am delighted this report recognises the outstanding care we deliver. I am pleased inspectors noted the positive changes underway. Over the coming months my commitment is to ensure that our patients and staff really feel the impact of these improvements.”

Sam Older regional organiser of trade union Unison, said: "Unison knows how hard the job is for our members and it is a credit to the staff that they remain overwhelmingly dedicated to providing the best care they can.

"Since the inspection in April there have been a number of changes within the senior leadership team and Unison would urge these new leaders to listen to their staff, to lead well and improve the rating in this section from its current rating of being 'inadaquate'.

"One of the big issues that needs to be addressed is the embedding of proccesses that help support staff welfare.

"Many members‎ are frustrated that the trust has not been able to improve recruitment and retention to have enough staff to provide a safe and responsive service to patients."

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