Paramedics who serve Cumbria have been rated outstanding for their responsiveness by inspectors. 

Emergency and urgent care was one of two areas of the North West Ambulance Service Trust (NWAS) inspected by the Care Quality Commission in February, along with its emergency operations centres where 999 calls are handled. 

Due to the suspension of routine inspections during the Covid-19 pandemic, the overall inspection could not be completed and on the whole NWAS is still rated as Good by the CQC, based on previous ratings. 

The other two areas of service - patient transport and resilience - were not inspected and are rated good based on inspections from January 2017 and November 2018 respectively.

NWAS received a good rating overall for its emergency and urgent care service but inspectors were particularly impressed by how responsive it was, giving this area of inspection an outstanding rating. 

Inspectors praised the service’s innovative ways of working with other healthcare services and highlighted how the trust promotes equality, taking a pro-active approach to caring for patient’s individual needs.

The care, compassion and kindness of staff shone through as inspectors saw the emotional support staff gave to patients as well as the respect and privacy they demonstrated. 

Meanwhile, CQC said NWAS should improve on staff compliance against mandatory training and appraisals targets, as well as continuing to improve complaint response times. 

Chief Executive Daren Mochrie said the positive feedback reflected the hard work and dedication of staff. 

“Our staff are a shining example of the NHS and I am thrilled that they have been recognised for their care and compassion as this is something we are particularly proud of here at NWAS,” he said. 

“We welcome the ‘outstanding’ rating for responsiveness in urgent and emergency care, with inspectors praising our equality and diversity as well as collaborative working with partner agencies.

“There is still work to be done and the report has highlighted improvement points which we will focus on going forward. We are committed to our vision to be the best ambulance service in the country and will continue to work hard to get there.”

The apprenticeship programme for emergency medical dispatchers was also praised, as well as the team of community specialist paramedics who are actively engaged with local services working together to provide an innovative approach to care.

The CQC report stated: “This inspection was already underway at the time of the suspension and therefore could not be completed in the usual way. This report includes the findings from the completed service level inspections which included two core services, but the well-led inspection and one service level inspection was not completed.

“CQC is only able to update findings on well-led at the overall trust level or update the other trust-level ratings when we have inspected the well-led component.

“As a result, the ratings for the overall trust and five key questions included in this report are from a previous inspection.”