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Inspection carried out on 14 August 2019 and 29 August 2019

During a routine inspection

Inspection carried out on 31 October 2017

During a routine inspection

iON Pinewood is operated by iON Ambulance Care Ltd. The service provides a patient transport service for all age groups including from birth. Patients using the service include those with minor moving and handling needs to those requiring additional medical support during their journeys. iON is an independent ambulance service based in Slough in Berkshire. The service serves communities and patients throughout the whole of the UK. The service employed paramedics, trained ambulance technicians and ambulance care assistants.

We inspected this service using our comprehensive inspection methodology. We carried out the inspection at short notice with announced part of the inspection on 31 October 2017.

To get to the heart of patients’ experiences of care and treatment, we ask the same five questions of all services: are they safe, effective, caring, responsive to people's needs, and well-led?

Throughout the inspection, we took account of what people told us and how the provider understood and complied with the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

Services we do not rate

We regulate independent ambulance services but we do not currently have a legal duty to rate them. We highlight good practice and issues that service providers need to improve and take regulatory action as necessary.

We found the following areas of good practice:

  • Positive patient feedback relating to the service they received.

  • Staff spoke positively of the support they received from the registered manager and were happy in their role.

  • The service had a clear purpose and identification, for example, their staff uniforms and ambulances clearly displayed the provider’s name.

  • Staff received mental capacity act training and showed a working knowledge of consent issues.

  • Staffing levels were sufficient to safely meet the patients’ needs.

  • The service used its ambulance and resources effectively to meet patients’ needs.

  • Staff clearly understood their safeguarding responsibilities and the actions to take regarding suspected abuse or neglect.

  • Staff used technology effectively. This ensured they had access to safeguarding information and enabled them to take immediate action if they identified safeguarding concerns.

  • The registered manager and staff demonstrated a genuinely caring approach to the patients they supported ensuring their wellbeing at all times.

  • All incidents were reviewed by the registered manger, investigated and appropriate action taken to minimise the risk of future reoccurrence.

  • Ambulances were well maintained and a servicing programme was in place to ensure they remained available for use.

However, we also found the following issues that the service provider needs to improve:

  • The service had not always managed infection prevention and control effectively by clearly following professional guidance and the service’s own policies and procedures.

  • There was a disconnect between the company based management team and operations management team which meant there was not always as consistent well led message disseminated to staff.

  • Effective governance and risk management processes had not always been in place to ensure the continual improvement of the quality of the service provided.

Following this inspection, we told the provider that it must take some actions to comply with the regulations and it should make other improvements though a regulation had not been breached, to help the service improve. We issued the provider with one requirement notice that affected patient transfer services. Details are at the end of the report.

Professor Ted Baker

Chief Inspector of Hospitals