Inspectors praise 'exemplary' ambulance service saving lives in Northamptonshire
The ambulance service that saves lives in Northamptonshire every day has been handed a glowing report by the healthcare watchdog.
East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS), which serves every hospital in the county, has been rated "good" in all areas by the CQC and even "outstanding" for caring for its patients.
It is a step up from the "requires improvement" grade it earned two years ago and means it is one of the top-performing services in the country.
Chief Executive Richard Henderson said: “I am immensely proud of everyone at EMAS for their tireless work and total commitment to seeing significant improvements here at EMAS in recent years.
"This new rating of ‘Good’ overall with ‘Outstanding’ for caring is a tremendous success not only for all our colleagues who work and volunteer at EMAS, but for our patients, their loved ones, and the organisations and individuals who work closely with us too."
In particular, the CQC praised EMAS' "exemplary" emergency operations centre - which handled 999 calls - and approved of a "dementia-friendly" ambulance service operating in Northampton.
Meanwhile, response times and time to answer calls were rated as "better than the England average".
The report reads: "There was a strong, visible person-centred culture. Staff were highly motivated and inspired to offer care that was kind and promoted patient’s dignity. Patients were overwhelmingly positive about how staff had treated them with dignity and respect.
"The majority of staff described how the culture had changed significantly over the last two years, this had been reflected in the national staff survey results.
"The morale amongst frontline staff had improved significantly since our last inspection."
The CQC did, however, list 24 smaller areas for improvement that the service could improve on - but these were ruled small enough to not impact the overall rating.
In fact, every area inspected was rated as either good or outstanding - except for the "effectiveness" of patient transport services, which scored "requires improvement".
Pauline Tagg, Chairman of the Trust Board at EMAS, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the outcome of this inspection and our rating is testament to the hard work of all our ambulance colleagues.
"Over the last few years, the Trust Board has been dedicated to delivering our quality improvement plans created in response to the 2015 and 2017 CQC ratings.
"The sheer hard work and commitment of colleagues working across EMAS to develop and provide quality services, has clearly been recognised."