Advising with empathy and experience

Ambulance service told to improve - again.


A private ambulance service has been told to improve by health and care inspectors for the second time in two years.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said it was not assured that some staff at YorMed Ambulance Station had the correct category of licence to drive ambulances, some vehicles were dirty and poorly maintained, and there were no guidelines or protocols available to administer controlled medicines.

The inspection was the second for the patient transport service since it was set up in 2007 and the second time the CQC has said it must make improvements to some areas of its operation.

A summary of the CQC inspection’s findings read: "We were not assured that the staff working in the company were competent to deliver the expectations of the role they were employed to deliver.

"There was not an effective process in relation to medicines management; evidence based guidelines were not used and medicines were not stored or administered as per national pathways and protocols.

"We were not assured that drivers of ambulance vehicles had the correct level of training or correct category of licence for driving heavier vehicles, or driving on blue lights.

"At the time of the inspection, it was unclear how the provider had assured themselves about the weights of their vehicles. The provider must be able to assure themselves that their staff hold the correct driving licence for driving heavier vehicles."

However inspectors praised Your Med’s "good working relationship" with hospitals and GP surgeries, and found staff "engaged positively" with a patient during a transfer and checked they were warm and comfortable several times.

While YorMed, run by run by City of York Council member,  Ashley Mason,  had not breached any regulations, managers were told they must take prompt action to ensure the proper and safe management and administration of medicines.

They were also told to make sure staff providing care or treatment had the correct training and skills, and take steps to share any complaints with staff to improve outcomes for patients.

Ashley Mason said steps were being taken to improve the service,  and added: "We are very pleased that the CQC have confirmed we have not breached any of the quality or safety regulations, recognising the improvements we have made since its last visit.

"Like all organisations, there are always things we can do to improve and we are digesting the full content of the report. The CQC referred to the cleanliness of driver’s cabs in some vehicles, but not the patient compartments that were found to be clean.

"YorMed’s vehicles are sourced from specialist vehicle converters who provide vehicles to St John’s Ambulance and others that can be driven with a Category B licence. We have had all vehicles independently weighed and passed the information to the CQC as evidence."

A category B licence is for cars with a maximum of eight passengers and there is no need to sit an additional driving test.

To drive a standard ambulance, C1 is the category and this requires an extra driving licence