Shropshire Star

Midlands Air Ambulance airbases rated 'outstanding' as staff told they should be proud of emergency care

Two airbases run by Midlands Air Ambulance Charity have been rated outstanding by health inspectors.

Midlands Air Ambulance

The headquarters of the charity in Shifnal and its Tatenhill airbase were inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in August and September and the rating was revealed in a report published today.

The charity provides pre-hospital emergency care and treatment by helicopter and rapid response car emergency medical services.

It covers the West Midlands, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire and the surrounding areas, serving a population of around six million people.

The inspection was carried out as part of CQC’s continual checks on the safety and quality of healthcare services.

Inspectors found that at both services staff carried out daily safety checks of specialist equipment including defibrillators and blood-giving equipment and planned care to meet the needs of people, took account of people’s individual needs, and made it easy to give feedback.

Staff provided emotional support to people, families, and carers, and leaders ran services well using reliable information systems and supported staff to develop their skills, inspectors said.

The CQC said staff completed safety briefings prior to flying, which included consideration of notifications such as fuel availability, weather, sunset times and any events or hazards, and managers monitored the effectiveness of the service and made sure staff were competent.

Mandatory training was also described as comprehensive, meeting the needs of people and staff.

Following the inspection, both services have been rated outstanding overall, as well as for being safe, responsive, effective and well-led.

Caring was rated as good.

Andy Brand, CQC deputy director of operations in the Midlands, said: “When we inspected Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, we were impressed to find two extremely well-led services that went above and beyond to ensure people were responded to quickly and effectively in emergency situations.

“Both services always met agreed response times and feedback from people was continually positive.

"People and relatives cared for by both services, told us they were treated with kindness, respect, and dignity.

"A compliments report showed 45 compliments had been received where people and their families wanted to express special thanks to staff.

“It was also positive to see that Midlands Air Ambulance Charity is open to learning and continuous improvement, and the service also reported areas of excellence so staff could learn from events that had gone particularly well. This helped staff to continuously improve and boosted morale and wellbeing.

“All staff should be proud of the care they’re providing to people in emergencies.

"They clearly work hard to provide exceptional care and other providers should look at these reports to see if there’s anything they can learn.”