Agenda item

Non-Emergency Patient Transport

(To receive a report from Thames Ambulance Service Limited (TASL), which updates the Committee on the Non-Emergency Patient Transport Service.  Representatives from TASL, will be in attendance for this item)


The Chairman welcomed to the meeting Mike Casey, General Manager, Thames Ambulance Service Limited and Andy Hill, Contract Manager, Thames Ambulance Service Limited.


The Chairman invited the Committee to give consideration to the two reports circulated to members of the Committee before the meeting.  It was highlighted that item 6a provided the Committee with an update from Thames Ambulance Service on their current status and service performance; and 6b provided the Committee with the findings of the Care Quality Commission report following its inspection of the Thames Ambulance Service Limited on 23 October 2018.


In an introductory update from the General Manager (TASL), the Committee was advised that TASL had now moved its Head Office to the Old Danwood Building, Lincoln.


Reassurance was given to the Committee that the data issues reported at the December 2018 meeting had now been resolved; and that the report (6a) that had been circulated previously provided the latest position in terms of Service Delivery Performance and organisational changes.  It was noted that there had been significant improvements in all but two areas; these were renal patients and collection of renal patients.


In guiding the Committee through the Care Quality Inspection findings (6b), the Contract Manager made reference to the following points:-


·         Completion of safeguarding/mandatory training.  The Committee was advised that a programme was now in place; and 80% of staff had now received training;

·         Meeting the needs of bariatric patients.  Confirmation was given that 30% of staff had been trained;

·         Cleanliness of ambulance stations/access to equipment.  The Committee was advised that since the CQC inspection a private cleaning company had been contracted to complete the necessary cleaning.  It was also highlighted new arrangements had been made with regard to oxygen bottles; these were now being stored at the hospital; to prevent staff having to carrying them.  It was highlighted further that steps were being taken to make arrangements to have some staff moved;

·         The non-availability of personal digital assistants (PDA).  It was reported that a risk register was now available, which was now complete and up to date;

·         Access to equipment for transporting children.  The Committee was advised that every station now had car seats available to them; and 100% of training for fitting car seats had been completed;

·         Completion of appraisals. The Committee was advised that now station managers were in place, a programme of work based training had been implemented; and there was now adequate resources available to deliver appraisals;

·         Managers and ambulance staff not using performance data.  It was highlighted that as the data was now accurate, staff now had access to view  KPI  data;

·         Leadership not being embedded throughout the service.  The Committee was advised that now the new structure was in place, some signs of empowerment were already being seen; and

·         Complaints – It was noted that the number of complaints had reduced, as a result of there now being corporate ownership.


During discussion, the Committee raised the following issues:-


·         Some concern was expressed relating to the lack of sustainable improvement across all areas.  The Committee was advised that shared reporting had been introduced in the previous month; and that staff now had access to view performance data.  Due to changes in working practices; and better training of staff, it was hoped that performance going forward would now be more sustainable.  A further concern was raised as to whether TASL was doing its own inspections, to ensure that things were being done as they should have been.  Reassurance was given to the Committee that a full system was now in place and that everything would be done to ensure there were no outstanding issues. Representatives from TASL took on board comments raised with regard to external quality assurance;

·         Staff feeling disconnected – The Committee was advised that the new structure was now in place; and that feedback received from staff had shown that Managers were more visible;

·         Reassurance was given that TASL was working closely with the  Lincolnshire West CCG; and that since the CQC report a lot of work had been done to ensure that going forward the level of service would be sustainable;

·         Financial Sustainability of TASL.  The Committee was advised that lots of investment had been made to provide the service in Lincolnshire.  It was reported that no profit was currently being made from the contract;

·         The importance of sharing feedback with the Committee – The Committee was advised that TASL was happy to share patient's feedback data, staff survey information and details of union engagement with members of the Committee.  It was highlighted that once received, re-inspection data would also be shared with the Committee;

·         Involvement of unions in the process – Reassurance was given that a union representative was on the joint committee; and that there were quarterly meetings of the joint committee;

·         Staff recognition scheme – The Committee was advised that there were some reward schemes for staff i.e. attendance; 

·         Voluntary Car Drivers – Confirmation was given that in total, only five staff had been lost in the first instance.  The Committee noted that a further 20 new members of staff had been recruited.  It was highlighted that the voluntary car drivers contributions were greatly valued, as they provided flexibility in the system; and

·         Eligibility criteria.  The Committee noted that the eligibility criteria had been set by the commissioners.  Some concern was expressed as to whether governance checks were in place.  Reassurance was given that governance checks were in place.


In conclusion, the Chairman thanked TASL representatives for their openness; and on behalf of the Committee expressed disappointment at the results of the CQC report.  Going forward, the Committee agreed that monthly updates on the KPI's should be received; and that details should also be received concerning the improvement tracker; and that data relating to the staff survey, patients complaints data should also be made available to the Committee.  The Committee also agreed that going forward TASL should attend future meetings on a quarterly basis.   




1.    That the CQC report be noted.


2.    That the disappointed of the Committee concerning the results of the CQC findings be recorded.


3.    That monthly KPI performance information from TASL be received; and that this data be reported to the Committee by way of the Chairman's Announcements.


4.    That details of the TASL improvement tracker, outcomes from the staff survey and patients complaints be made available to members of the Committee.


5.    That TASL be invited to attend future meetings of the Committee on a quarterly basis (The next meeting being 15 May 2019). 

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