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The Care Quality Commission (CQC) in the United Kingdom has reported that private ambulance firms hired by the National Health Service (NHS) are endangering patients.
The CQC inspected 246 private ambulance providers in England and found multiple incidences of negligence. The discovered cases include a grave violation of traffic rules, failure to ensure that the patient arrived home safely after treatment, and staff oversight that resulted in improper storage of medicine.
These cases are clear violations of the private ambulance firms’ responsibilities laid out by the CQC. According to the commission, private firms need to ensure that ambulance personnel have sufficient training and are responsible enough to report and resolve any issues encountered. The firms should also make sure that the ambulances used are in good condition and have the proper equipment.
The CQC reported the violations to the Department of Health and Social Care. Furthermore, the commission advised the department to conduct a study on how to properly regulate private ambulance providers. The CQC also urged involved organizations to prioritize patient safety and to acquire knowledge of best practices from industry experts.
This issue came to light because of the increasing need for private ambulance firms. More people are calling for medical assistance, and local ambulances cannot cope with the increased demand. To address the problem, the NHS spent nearly £80 million to hire private ambulance providers.
However, the CQC’s recent findings reinforced the long-time criticism toward private ambulance providers. Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow secretary of state for health and social care, thinks that the move was not successful and is now requesting the removal of private ambulance firms.