Further improvements have been recognised at the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) lifting two more conditions on its licence.
Following an inspection in 2020 which identified concerns around safeguarding of patients and staff, the CQC took enforcement action on EEAST which included seven conditions being placed on its registration and placing the Trust into ‘special measures’.
Since then, under a new leadership team, the Team has worked through an improvement plan to strengthen its policies and processes and reports on progress to the CQC monthly.
In February this year the CQC lifted two conditions and after this most recent news, EEAST now has three remaining conditions on its licence which it is hoped will be lifted in the near future.
The CQC recognised that the Trust has expanded its safeguarding team and strengthened its safeguarding policies and HR processes. Training provision has been increased with the expansion of level 3 safeguarding training programme to all registrants over the next three years.
An improvement in the way allegations are handled was also recognised after processes were strengthened and standardised. In formal employee relations cases, a pre-action review meeting takes place to ensure a consistent approach to the processes around suspensions and formal investigations.
Training has been provided for managers investigating allegations to improve the quality of decision making and the monitoring of any themes where an intervention could prevent the number of similar future cases.
The Trust has also been recognised for its work in expanding the visibility of the Freedom to Speak Up Guardian.
These changes resulted in the lifting of two conditions:
- implement an effective system to identify and assess any potential safeguarding issues and the management of vulnerable children and adults.
- a review of the way allegations are handled to ensure that policies incorporate risk assessments that describe the rationale for any decisions taken and sets out overall management of cases.
Tom Abell, Chief Executive of EEAST, said:
“This recognition by our regulators, the CQC, is another important step in the right direction for the Trust and I would like to thank everyone involved in strengthening the systems and processes we have around safeguarding and how we handle allegations.
“We have made much progress since I joined the Trust over two years ago when I made clear it would take time to tackle longstanding cultural and organisational issues.
“We know that there is still much to do to reach our goal of making EEAST a great place to work, volunteer and learn and providing an excellent service to our communities, which we are committed to doing.”