Ambulance service order to improve by inspectors

Ambulances queuing outside Royal Preston Hospital. A queue of nine ambulances was spotted on Boxing Day, and paramedics reported a wait of up to 90 minutes to hand over patients
Ambulances queuing outside Royal Preston Hospital. A queue of nine ambulances was spotted on Boxing Day, and paramedics reported a wait of up to 90 minutes to hand over patients

The region’s ambulance service has been ordered to improve its safety standards after an inspection.

North West Ambulance Service received a ‘Requires Improvement’ rating in the areas of both safety and leadership.

The Trust has now been ordered to take steps to improve these areas, following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

High levels of staff vacancies were singled out by inspectors as a problem, with 16.2 per cent of all full-time equivalent posts being vacant.

Last month, the Post reported that the Trust has the highest level of vacancies of any Trust in England and Wales.

There have also been reported problems of ambulances being forced to queue for over an hour outside Royal Preston Hospital’s A&E, meaning that paramedics are not available to respond to emergencies.

In the same inspection, the Trust was given a ‘Good’ rating for being effective, caring and responsive.