Following a damning report by the Care Quality Commission, the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) has today (Monday) been placed into special measures.
It comes after inspectors uncovered a culture of bullying and sexual harassment at the trust.
As a result of the decision, EEAST will receive enhanced support to improve its services.
A statement from NHS England and NHS Improvement outlined that the Trust would be supported with the appointment of an improvement director, the facilitation of a tailored ‘Freedom to Speak Up’ support package, the arrangement of an external ‘buddying’ with fellow ambulance services and Board development sessions.
This follows a CQC recommendation to place the trust in special measures due to challenges around patient and staff safety concerns, workforce processes, complaints and learning, private ambulance service (PAS) oversight and monitoring, and the need for improvement in the trust’s overarching culture to tackle inappropriate behaviours and encourage people to speak up.
Ann Radmore, East of England Regional Director said, “While the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust has been working through its many challenges, there are long-standing concerns around culture, leadership and governance, and it is important that the trust supports its staff to deliver the high-quality care that patients deserve.
“We know that the trust welcomes this decision and shares our commitment to reshape its culture and address quality concerns for the benefit of staff, patients and the wider community.”
Commenting on the news, the MP for Bedford and Kempston, Mohammad Yasin said, “Following the recent and shocking report by the CQC, it is only right that the Trust has been placed in Special Measures so the necessary drastic improvements are made as soon as possible.
“There is a lot of work to be done to ensure employer and patient safety.
“A number of improvement measures have already been put in place but these problems have being going on for far too long with little to no improvement.
“The geographic area of the Trust at 7, 500 square miles is simply too large and my fear is that trying to turn around a workplace that large is like trying to turn around an oil tanker.
“In the short term, I will do all I can to support the improvement measures for the sake of patient safety but in the longer term, the systematic problems must be addressed.”