Care Quality Commission
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Independent ambulance providers – emerging concerns

We've now carried out 70 comprehensive inspections of independent ambulance services since April 2015. These inspections have identified some common concerns around poor medicines management, cleanliness and infection control practices and a lack of appropriate recruitment checks.

So far, we have published 39 reports from these inspections and have taken enforcement action or issued 'requirement notices' to 25 different providers, ordering them to improve.

We have written to all 260 independent ambulance providers yesterday to highlight our emerging concerns and remind them of their commitment to provide safe and effective care.

Prof Sir Mike Richards, Chief Inspector of Hospitals at the Care Quality Commission, said:

"Patient safety must be a priority at all times. Vehicles used to transport patients must be clean and fitted with the right equipment, staff must be appropriately trained and supported to carry out their roles effectively, and medicines must be stored securely and administered by staff trained to do so.

"We know that there are some independent ambulance services doing all these things and providing very good care, but unfortunately, our emerging findings suggest that this is not always the case. Where we have found concerns we have held those providers to account and have been clear where improvements must be made. We expect providers to deliver on their commitment to provide safe, high-quality and compassionate care and we will do everything within our powers to ensure this happens."

We aim to complete our inspection programme of all independent ambulance services by the end of March 2018. This will include follow up inspections of those providers where concerns have been identified already.


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