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CQC rates air ambulance service outstanding

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has rated a Cambridgeshire-based air ambulance service outstanding, following an inspection undertaken in September.

Magpas Operational Base, located at Wyton Airfield, covers emergencies in East Anglia.

The charity-funded service responded to over 1,200 emergencies in the year to August, following calls for assistance from NHS ambulance trusts in the region.

CQC’s inspection found an excellent service which was securing exceptional outcomes for local people and saving lives.

In addition to rating the service outstanding overall following the inspection, CQC rated it outstanding for being effective, caring, responsive to people’s needs and well-led. It was rated good for being safe.

Zoe Robinson, CQC head of hospital inspection, recently said:

“We were very impressed with Magpas Operational Base.

“It was exceeding the steps we would expect it to take to ensure people receive safe and effective care and treatment.

“This meant the service was delivering exceptional outcomes for people and saving lives.

“Behind this success was excellent development and implementation of policies and processes, so the service was resilient to challenges and responsive to the needs of the wide range of people it encounters.

“We also found the service benefited from a patient-focused culture, which was embedded through inspirational leadership.

“Being rated outstanding by CQC is the result of considerable hard work, so I congratulate everyone at the service who achieved this high standard for the people they serve.”

The inspection found many examples of outstanding practice, including:

  • Staff training was comprehensive
  • Staff understood how to protect patients for abuse
  • Infection risk was controlled well
  • Risks were anticipated and well-managed, and safety was recognised as being everyone’s responsibility. Staff also identified and quickly acted upon patients at risk of deterioration
  • There were enough staff with the right qualifications, skills, training and experience to keep patients safe from avoidable harm and to provide the right care and treatment
  • Staff kept detailed records of patients’ care and treatment
  • There were comprehensive systems and processes to safely manage medicines
  • There was an open culture where all safety concerns raised by staff and people who used the service were valued as integral to learning and improvement
  • All staff were actively engaged in monitoring and improving quality and patient outcomes
  • Staff collaborated and found innovative and efficient ways to deliver joined-up care for people
  • People were respected and valued as individuals
  • Feedback from people who used the service was continually positive
  • Staff were highly motivated, inspired to offer care that was kind and promoted people’s dignity
  • Leaders had an inspiring shared purpose, and they strove to deliver and motivate staff to succeed
  • Leaders had the skills and abilities to run the service, and they understood and managed the priorities and issues it faced. They were visible and approachable to patients and staff
  • Leaders had plans to cope with unexpected events
  • The service collected a wide range of reliable data and analysed it to monitor performance and drive improvement.

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About the Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find to help people choose care.


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