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NHS Ambulance services scrutinised after patient safety concerns raised


ambulanceSerious concerns over patient safety have been highlighted at our region’s ambulance trust and a risk summit took place last week.

Andy Yacoub from Healthwatch Suffolk attended the summit on behalf of all Healthwatch organisations from the East of England.

What’s a Risk Summit?

Risk Summits are arranged by the NHS when there has been a significant event that requires leading NHS, care organisations and regulators to come together to consider the matters raised.

In this case, concerns have been raised about the East of England Ambulance Service Trust after reports that patients were allegedly put at serious risk of harm or had died because their ambulance was delayed. The Summit was arranged because “the health system” recognises the need to act rapidly and make some immediate changes, as well as to develop improved ways of planning for the 2018-19 winter.

Andy Yacoub (Chief Executive of Healthwatch Suffolk) attended the Summit on behalf of all local Healthwatch in the east region:

“It is positive that we, as lead Local Healthwatch for ambulance services in the East of England, were invited to participate as an independent body, backed up with the views of local people from across our region. Involvement from independent bodies in such Summits is rare and I believe that our involvement is a genuine indication that the NHS is trying to be transparent in examining this situation.
“The Summit took place in Cambridge and was hosted by NHS England. It was chaired by Dr. Paul Watson (Regional Director, NHS England Midlands and the East). Representatives from across the NHS were present including the ambulance trust, commissioners, hospitals, NHS Improvement and the Care Quality Commission.
“A constructive three-and-a-half-hour discussion took place and I was satisfied that no stone was left unturned. The purpose was to examine all aspects of the health system that involves the ambulance service.
“It was heartening to hear that, on several occasions, the Chair repeated to all in attendance that patient safety must be at the very heart of any decisions that this Summit and each provider makes. In addition to this, the welfare and wellbeing of ambulance staff was also recognised as paramount to making improvements.

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