England

East Midlands Ambulance Service staffing 'insufficient'

EMAS ambulance
Image caption EMAS has about 2,700 members of staff and receives approximately 2,000 calls a day

A report into East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) has found it has "insufficient staff" to meet the needs of patients in a "timely manner".

The troubled NHS trust has been struggling financially and has some of the worst response times in England.

However, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said staff were committed to providing high quality, safe care despite suffering from low morale.

The health watchdog said inspectors also saw some "outstanding practice".

Prof Sir Mike Richards, the CQC's chief inspector of hospitals, said EMAS, which serves about 4.8m people across six counties, required improvement.

Image caption EMAS staff were reported to be under pressure and unable to take scheduled breaks

He said: "There was an unrelenting demand for emergency services combined with a lack of staff and resources to meet the need.

"We found that while people were cared for and treated well, there were insufficient staff and a lack of appropriate skill-mix to meet the needs of patients in a timely manner."

The trust was told it must ensure there are sufficient emergency vehicles to safely meet demand and response times must also meet the needs of patients by reaching national targets.

In April it was revealed EMAS had overspent by almost £12m in the last financial year and had to take out an additional loan to help with running costs.

Staff were also reported to be under pressure and unable to take scheduled breaks.

Richard Henderson, acting chief executive of EMAS, said: "We will be continuing our recruitment campaigns. Last year we recruited over 300 staff. This year again we will be doing exactly the same.

"We will be increasing the numbers of vehicles available but most importantly we need to ensure we retain our existing workforce."

EMAS said emergency calls had increased and handover delays at hospitals had caused it to incur the extra costs.

The service which covers Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland has about 2,700 members of staff and receives approximately 2,000 calls a day.

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