Ambulance bosses under fire from watchdog

BOSSES at Great Western Ambulance Service have come under fire from a scathing report from an independent watchdog.

BOSSES at Great Western Ambulance Service have come under fire in a scathing report from an independent watchdog.

The NHS Trust, which provides ambulance cover across North Somerset, failed to meet 80 per cent of Government targets relating to patient waiting times, according to a report by the Healthcare Commission.

The Annual Health Check noted that the Trust underachieved’ in responding to 75 per cent of the most life-threatening incidents within eight minutes in 2006/7.

The watchdog’s survey also found management was lacking and staff were not given the support they needed.


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The service was formed last year from the amalgamation of three separate trusts covering Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and the old Avon area.

Chief executive Tim Lynch said: “While we are disappointed in the overall result for our Trust, the Healthcare Commission has found us compliant in 35 of the 44 areas that make up the Annual Health Check rating.

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“The commission has also awarded us a good rating against the new national targets which means we are achieving vital clinical standards such as enforcing infection control procedures and undertaking clinical audits.”

A trust spokesman added: “This report covered a period which ended seven months ago. It reflected on the first year that three trusts merged and a new executive team was introduced.

“The financial rating reflects the debt we inherited from the three former trusts. But we are now on target to break even at the end of this financial year - in five months’ time.

“We are disappointed we have not been able to meet performance targets which we take very seriously and are working hard to meet.

“We have introduced new ways of team working to improve efficiency and are continuing to introduce more community responder schemes in the rural areas where it is more difficult for us to get a clinician to the scene within eight minutes.

“We are also installing new technology in our control centres which enables us to pinpoint all our resources across the three sectors and ensures we send the nearest available vehicle.

“The new role of emergency care practitioners, with assessment and referral skills, will help by treating more patients in their communities and reducing the number of patients we take to hospital, releasing crews to attend other emergency calls.

“We have also launched a major recruitment programme and are looking for operational staff at all levels.”

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