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Reports


Inspection carried out on 18 to 20 September 2018, and 12 February 2019

During a routine inspection

ERS Medical North is operated by ERS Medical, which in turn is owned by ERS Transition Ltd. The service provides a patient transport service throughout the north of England from five bases: Manchester, Mansfield, Leeds, Crewe and Speke (the crew and vehicles are based within a hospital in Merseyside). There are 38 patient transport vehicles split (by demand) across all five sites. The registered location address is in Trafford, Manchester.

ERS Medical was previously owned by another company which sold the business towards the end of 2017. The new company, ERS Transition Ltd has been registered with the CQC since October 2017.

ERS Medical North provides support to the North West Ambulance Service as required. It also supports several acute hospital trusts across the north of England and provides support for a GP urgent care contract to a GP federation in Leeds.

ERS Medical North can transport patients detained under the Mental Health Act 2007 in a formal and informal context.

ERS Medical North is registered to provide treatment of disease, disorder or injury, and transport services, triage and medical advice provided remotely. We carried out our inspection between the 18 and 20 September 2018, and 12 February 2019.

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.

We found the following areas of good practice:

  • The service protected patients from abuse and harm.

  • The service used suitable vehicles and ensured equipment was stored on these safely and securely.

  • The service had updated its running sheets to allow clinical handover information to be recorded.

  • Patient records were securely stored.

  • Disclosure and barring service checks were completed for all staff.

  • Staff ensured appropriate paperwork was available when transporting patients detained under the Mental Health Act.

  • The service had introduced an updated national training programme for road crews, as well as an updated observational audit to assess the competency of staff.

  • The service’s policies were up to date.

  • The service had introduced systems to monitor the quality and safety of the services provided.

  • All staff had completed training that was required to undertake their roles safely. In addition, records indicated that most staff were up to date with mandatory training.

  • The service had a clear policy for staff to follow in the event of an emergency. Staff were aware of this and knew what actions to take if needed.

  • Staff delivered patient care in a caring and compassionate way. Staff demonstrated an awareness of the need to protect the privacy and dignity of patients.

  • Sites had specific business continuity plans.

  • Patient feedback was very positive.

  • There was a good culture in the organisation, staff felt engaged, and they praised the regional manager.

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

  • Patient review forms were inconsistently completed.

  • Not all the running sheets we reviewed contained clinical handover information.

  • The service did not always record that staff returned uniforms or badges when they left the service.

  • The Leeds site did not hold regular staff meetings (albeit that new manager had plans to reintroduce meetings and to increase attendance).

Following this inspection, we told the provider that it should make improvements, even though a regulation had not been breached, to help the service improve. Details are at the end of the report.

Ann Ford

Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals (North), on behalf of the Chief Inspector of Hospitals