South Central Ambulance Service failings follow long-standing health care problems across Portsmouth region

THE downgrading of the ambulance service’s CQC rating stems back to safeguarding concerns that were raised towards the end of last year.
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Inspectors found that safeguarding policies at South Central Ambulance Service were 'ambiguous or incorrect' which led to problems not always being identified.

Some of the policies being used were also out-of-date, with domestic abuse incidents referring to the Home Office definition from 2013, rather than the Domestic Abuse Act (2021).

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South Central Ambulance Service has been rated 'inadequate' by the Care Quality Commission. Picture: SCASSouth Central Ambulance Service has been rated 'inadequate' by the Care Quality Commission. Picture: SCAS
South Central Ambulance Service has been rated 'inadequate' by the Care Quality Commission. Picture: SCAS
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Amanda Williams, who led the CQC inspection, said: 'The policy statements were not deliverable due to the size of the region covered by the trust and the limited resources within the team.

'The [domestic abuse] policy was not using current legislation as a basis from which to protect people from harm.'

No official safeguarding meetings had taken place either, with no minutes produced.

During the recent heatwave, the ambulance service declared a critical incident due to pressures on its services, warning that there could be an increase to response times.

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But failings at the trust are also part of a wider problem with Portsmouth's health care woes, with crisis talks about GPs and dentists still ongoing.

Earlier this month, a summit was held to develop a coordinated approach to the city's GP crisis, after a Nuffield Trust report showed that Portsmouth has the highest rate of patients to GPs in the country.

According to figures the area has 2,438 patients for every GP.

Further problems can be found in dentistry, with the Kingston Crescent hub being closed since May and the closure of Colosseum Dental in 2019.

The city has struggled to recover from the closures, which have affected some 20,000 people.