Ambulance service union reps have hit back at a CQC report ordering Lancashire’s ambulance service to improve its safety standards.
UNISON North West Ambulance Service Branch Secretary Jeff Gorman said: “There are too few staff to deal with the growing number of 999 calls coming in. But that’s a problem across the whole of the country, not just the north west.
“The pressures of the job are never-ending, having to respond to emergency calls one after the other without a break. It’s no wonder many experienced ambulance staff have left for better paid, less stressful jobs.
“Managers at the service are trying their best to fill staffing gaps, but without a proper injection of NHS funding from the government and a review of how paramedics are trained, this will be an uphill battle. There simply aren’t enough new recruits coming through the system.”
High levels of staff vacancies were singled out by CQC inspectors as a problem, with 16.2 per cent of all full-time equivalent posts being vacant.
There have also been reported problems of ambulances being forced to queue outside hospitals A&E, meaning that paramedics are not available to respond to emergencies.
In the same inspection, the Trust was given a ‘Good’ rating for being effective, caring and responsive. NWAS Chief Executive Derek Cartwright said: “We are determined to right this as soon as possible.”