Rainham private ambulance service rated inadequate by inspectors with allegations of ‘bullying’ among staff
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A Rainham private ambulance service has been rated inadequate by the Care Quality Commission in several areas, and the report includes allegations of bullying.
Inspectors carried out an unannounced visit to SSG UK Specialist Ambulance Service Ltd in Thames View Business Centre, Barlow Way, on Tuesday, November 6 last year, and the full report was published on Monday, February 4.
Services were deemed inadequate in three out of the five areas assessed, and was placed in special measures.
The company is an independent ambulance service which provides emergency and urgent services and some patient transport service.
SSG UK has said it takes the findings “extremely seriously” and it is “recognised that the company leadership needs significant strengthening in order to guarantee the improvements needed to achieve the standard of care deserved by the patients SSG UKSAS care for each day.”
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It has already appointed a managing director, David Harris, and on its future, the company states: “We fully accept the findings made by the CQC in its report and are confident the changes we have made to date, together with the additional programme of work currently in delivery by the CCP, will guarantee that all the issues will be compliant with the regulations of Health and Social Care Act 2008 and the recommendations of the commission.”
During the inspection, CQC spoke with 20 staff including registered paramedics, emergency care assistants (ECAs), ambulance care assistants (ACA), technicians, managers and service leadership.
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In the summary of their findings, inspectors said incident reporting and investigation was not effectively managed, that the service didn’t have sufficiently accurate records to show enough staff had the right qualifications, skills, training or experience to keep people safe, and there was evidence medicines were not safely managed.
Allegations of bullying were allegedly reported to CQC inspectors, with the report stating: “We received feedback from staff about perceived bullying and unprofessional behaviours by named individuals in the service leadership team and individual crew members.”
However the report does state some areas of good practice, which included:
• The service controlled infection risks.
• The service had suitable premises and equipment.
• All vehicles we inspected were visibly clean and tidy. Vehicles were well maintained and well stocked.
A full statement provided on behalf of the company states: “SSG UK Specialist Ambulance Service Ltd today (4 February 2019) issued the following statement in response to the publication by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) published of their findings following an inspection of the company’s Corporate HQ in Rainham, Essex in November 2019.
“The CQC report summaries the standard of Urgent Care Services provided by SSG UKSAS Corporate HQ as ‘Inadequate’, which is taken extremely seriously by the company’s executive management team and its staff.
“It is recognised that the company leadership needs significant strengthening in order to guarantee the improvements needed to achieve the standard of care deserved by the patients SSG UKSAS care for each day.
“These changes start from the top, and the company have taken the first steps to ensuring SSG UKSAS shall succeed in being a well-led organisation by appointing a managing director, David Harris.
“David has 17 years’ experience in the healthcare industry; including 9 years in senior leadership roles within the ambulance sector. He is a HCPC Registered Paramedic and has extensive knowledge and experience in UK healthcare regulation holding CQC responsibilities in previous senior roles within the ambulance service.
“In addition, a Critical Change Programme (CCP), which was started following the CQC report of our Fareham station has already started to embed clinical, corporate, system and process change. This work which has been under way since early December 2019 is being carried out by a group of clinical experts and change management specialists together with SSG UKSAS executives.
“We fully accept the findings made by the CQC in its report on our Rainham HQ and are confident the changes we have made to date, together with the additional programme of work currently in delivery by the CCP, will guarantee that all the issues which have been identified as inadequate by the CQC inspectors will be compliant with the regulations of Health and Social Care Act 2008 and the recommendations of the commission.”
To read the full report go to the CQC website.