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Friday 25th May 2018

Ambulance service investigation

10th April 2008

A Healthcare Commission investigation has found that managers at Staffordshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust took risks with the safety of patients, staff and volunteers.


Covering the period from April 2004 to June 2007, the investigation highlighted problems at the former ambulance trust that included poor management of controlled drugs, community first responders not being adequately trained to drive at speed, and doctors employed by the out-of-hours GP service were not always GPs.

However, the ambulance services did perform well in terms of response times for emergency calls.

But the Commission felt any achievements had been undermined by a culture and approach that did not prioritise safety and that put patients at risk.

The investigating authority has stressed that the West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust (WMAS), which took over Staffordshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust in October 2007, has already made progress on addressing these issues following Commission recommendations.

Commission chief executive Anna Walker said: "The managers at Staffordshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust were motivated by the best intentions - to provide high quality care for patients. However, some of the practices in the trust put the safety of patients, volunteers and staff at risk.

"Patients, staff and the public could have been seriously hurt as a result of the compromised safety culture.

"The trust sought to be innovative, and that is to be applauded, but it did not have effective systems in place to handle this innovation safely. This undermined many of the good achievements made on behalf of patients."


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