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North East Ambulance Service’s Emergency and Urgent Care rated Inadequate following CQC Inspection

Following an unannounced inspection, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has rated the North East Ambulance Service NHS Trust (NEAS) as inadequate in the areas of its emergency and urgent care, and in relation to the question of whether the service is “well-led”. Overall, the Trust received a rating of ‘requires improvement’ and has subsequently been issued a warning notice.

There was a clear deterioration in the service from the last inspection in 2018, particularly in the area of urgent and emergency care, and as such the CQC are concerned that service users are being placed at risk of harm. In particular, it was noted that ambulance crews in the North East have been attending calls and emergencies without access to the life-saving drugs needed to help patients, including morphine and seizure medication, which has led to significant delays in patients receiving vital treatment.

In addition to these practical concerns, there have been a number of allegations made by whistle-blowers in relation to cover ups, un-investigated deaths and significant incidents. These allegations are in line with the findings of the CQC investigation and the Trust is now under immense pressure to improve.

To further ensure meaningful improvements, an independent review by former NHS chief, Dame Marianne Griffiths, in now underway and is due to be published this month. It will focus on the deaths of five people, and is expected to highlight historical issues within the Trust. It appears that the recurring issues of under supported staff and blame culture, which are regularly publicised in relation to Trusts throughout the UK, are the primary concerns within NEAS.

It is notable that in recent times the Trust have faced “unprecedented pressures” as they have described, however it is hoped that the CQC warning and independent review will improve the service to the point of ensuring patient safety moving forwards.

As clinical negligence lawyers we represent a number of families and children who have suffered or have lost loved ones as a result of failures in medical care. These claims seek to ensure that those who have suffered a preventable injury can access the services and funds they require such as care, therapy, aids and equipment, and suitably adapted accommodation to assist them during their lives. We can also help secure an apology from the Trust responsible and seek to ensure the same mistakes are not made again.

If you or a loved one have similar concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us for a free, confidential discussion.

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The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.

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