Wigan-based ambulance service told to make improvements

The ambulance service has been operating for 20 years
The ambulance service has been operating for 20 years
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A Wigan-based ambulance service has been told to make a number of improvements following health watchdog scrutiny.


PrimeCare Ambulance Service, based in Abram, was assessed by the Care Quality Commission at the end of last year.

As part of the CQC’s legal obligations, the authority is required to regulate private ambulance services, but it is not duty-bound to rate them as it does for care services and healthcare providers.

During the course of the announced visit, inspectors found a number of issues, which were flagged up in the subsequent report released last week.
Inspectors observed: “Although there were processes in place for reporting incidents, staff did not receive feedback and shared learning.

“Appropriate recruitment checks were not completed for employees prior to commencing employment.

“System and processes were not in place to implement the statutory obligations of duty of candour.

“Records confirmed staff were not up to date with mandatory training.

“Staff were not aware of the requirement to notify the CQC when there was an allegation of abuse concerning a person using the service.”

In particular, the authority highlighted issues with the company’s safeguarding procedures, which they have said need improving to meet required industry standards.

The report adds: “Reliable systems, processes and practices were not in place to protect adults, children and young people from avoidable harm and abuse.

“The service had appointed two safeguarding leads for vulnerable adults and children.

“Although there were safeguarding alert forms available for staff to complete to record safeguarding concerns, which were given to the duty manager, we were not assured correct safeguarding procedures were followed.

“Following an incident, a safeguarding referral was not made to the responsible local authority, although the NHS trust responsible for the patient was contacted by the provider.

“Both managers were not aware of their responsibility in making a safeguarding alert to the responsible local authority safeguarding team and were not aware of the legal requirement to notify the CQC.

“They informed us they would contact the hospital where the patient was transported from and seek advice, and if required would contact the police.

“They informed us they relied on hospital staff from where the patient was collected from to make the safeguarding referral.”

The service, which opened in 1998, is an ambulance service which primarily serves areas across Lancashire.

In the main, the service provides patient transport for NHS Trusts but on occasion they will also work at events.

Despite its failings, the authority did find good areas of practice, including patient responses from which they learnt that there had been no complaints of any kind in the past 12 months.

The company was also commended for the “general positivity” observed throughout the inspection.