WEST Midlands Ambulance Service has received an ‘Outstanding’ overall rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) once again.
It is the highest possible rating from the health and social care regulator.
“The Trust and its staff should be very proud of what they do,” its report states.
The CQC inspected the service in April and June, looking at core services of urgent and emergency care and patient transport services, and its leadership.
The ‘Outstanding’ rating refers to being effective, caring, responsive and well-led – and there was a ‘Good’ rating for safety.
The West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust serves a population of 5.6 million people covering an area of more than 5,000 square miles.
It includes Coventry, Warwickshire, Solihull, Birmingham, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire and the Black Country.
The CQC’s Chief Inspector, Professor Ted Baker, said: “WMAS was the first ambulance service in England to receive an Outstanding rating and I am pleased to announce that it continues to provide an excellent service.
“There was a positive culture that supported and valued staff and a strong and embedded focus on continuous improvement to offer the best quality service for patients, and effective systems for identifying risks or plans to eliminate or reduce them.
“Overwhelmingly this is an Outstanding trust and the hard work of staff across the trust continues to be exemplary. WMAS are making a real difference to people, and the trust and its staff should be very proud of what they do.”
WMAS Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh said: “This is fantastic news and is down to the hard work of staff and the volunteers who support us, for providing the best possible care to patients across the West Midlands.
“I am so incredibly proud of each and every one of you for helping us to maintain our position as the best ambulance service in the country. That’s not me saying it, but the organisation that looks at the safety and care of our patients.
“This rating reflects the hard work and professionalism of our staff and provides the recognition they rightly deserve.
“To have independent inspectors make such positive comments about the Trust is incredible; it is rare that any Trust has received such high praise from the CQC.
“I am particularly pleased that they have specifically highlighted the work of the Patient Transport Service, who were more challenged the last time the CQC came. Today’s report specifically comments on how responsive PTS staff are to the changing needs of patients and highlights the work of the ambulance liaison assistants who support patients waiting for transport to minimise distress.
“We do accept that there is further work to be done and we will continue to strive to improve services and support staff even better than we already are.”
Trust Chairman, Sir Graham Meldrum, added: “Helping others is at the heart of everything we do and I am hugely pleased that the CQC saw a positive, patient centred culture within the Trust with hard working staff proud to work here and making a real difference to patients’ lives.
“Compassion is a large part of our role and I am equally proud that the report highlighted staff were outstanding in the way they support people who are distressed or overwhelmed in stressful situations.
“Quality and safety are key priorities for us; they are essential for running an effective ambulance service and I’m pleased that this was highlighted by the CQC as was our strong and stable leadership team.
“Congratulations to everyone.”