The West Midlands Ambulance Service has been rated as outstanding in its routine inspection by the Care Quality Commission.
This represents a particularly proud moment for the service, as the West Midlands ambulance service becomes the first ambulance trust in England to be rated this highly.
The CQC inspected the trust in June and July of last year, and found that it is delivering the highest standards of service possible.
All the other ambulance trusts in England are rated as requiring improvement, good or inadequate.
Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, noted in his report on the trust that it delivers a particularly patient-centred culture.
Richards commended new trials that are being conducted at the trust that have minimised waiting times for patients.
The trust was rated good for having safe, responsive and well-led services, but requires improvement for its patient transport services.
Nonetheless, the CQC considered the trust to be of the highest quality for meeting national targets among the 10 ambulance trusts within the NHS system.
Richards outlined the pressure currently bearing down on ambulance trusts in particular.
“As demand for emergency care grows year by year, our ambulance services have never been busier. I know the trust is at the forefront of national improvements in the ambulance service, exploring better ways to deal with emergency calls so that people get appropriate care in the right place at the right time. Most importantly, the trust is effective in responding to all urgent calls that involve dealing with life threatening or critical conditions within the required time frames.”
The Chief Inspector went on to speak of the quality of staffing that had been observed at the West Midlands Ambulance Service.
“We found staff to be outstanding in the way they supported people who were distressed or overwhelmed in stressful situations.”
But Richards also indicated that there is still room for improvement, even considering the outstanding performance of the trust.
“We did, however, find some areas where improvements were needed, particularly within patient transport services, which was rated as requires improvement overall. Our inspectors will return at a later date to check on the progress of these areas”.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is an executive non-departmental public body of the Department of Health.
It was established in 2009 to regulate and inspect health and social care services in England.