MPs call for action in wake of damning ambulance trust inspection report
- Credit: Archant Norfolk
Suffolk MPs have called for changes in leadership and structure at the East of England Ambulance Service after a report revealed shocking failings.
The Care Quality Commission has published a report after an inspection of the trust in June 2020, in response to escalating concerns of risk to patient and staff safety.
The damning report lists findings of sexual abuse, harassment, bullying, a culture of tolerance and a long history of prolific and predatory sexual harassment within the organisation.
Leadership was called into question time and again by the CQC and the report said: “Senior leaders showed a lack of awareness of some of the fundamental requirements to safeguard patients and staff from abuse.”
Thérèse Coffey, MP for Suffolk Coastal and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, was very concerned by the findings and has the view the trust should undergo major restructuring once the pandemic has passed.
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She said: “This a very concerning report with clear questions for the leadership team.
“This report also raises serious concerns about safeguarding and the treatment of staff.
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“They must be better looked after and the culture very clearly needs to change, as ultimately patients suffer.
“My thanks go to the Care Quality Commission for a very thorough report. It’s the right move to put the trust into special measures as it will now get very focussed national support to help fix the critical issues.”
The MP added: “While the time is not right during the current coronavirus pandemic to focus on organisational structure, this reinforces my view that the trust may need to be broken up and rebuilt in the future into two or three smaller services for the benefit of patients.”
Dr Dan Poulter, MP for North Ipswich and Central Suffolk, was disappointed by the report and has backed calls for the leadership to change.
He said: “My main concern is that there appears to be a culture at the trust which is resulting in poor morale amongst frontline paramedics and which, as a result, could impact on the quality of frontline patient care.
“It is vital that frontline staff feel properly supported in their work and this is something that will need to be urgently addressed.
“The culture at the trust is set by the top team. They have time to learn lessons and get things right but if not then a new leadership team will be needed.”
Matt Hancock, West Suffolk MP and health secretary, said: “I am concerned about this very serious report.
“We are all very grateful for the work of the ambulance service through the pandemic.
“Now that the findings have been published, the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust needs to take these concerns on board and seek to address them immediately.”