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Inspection Summary


Overall summary & rating

Outstanding

Updated 18 March 2020

Thames Valley Air Ambulance is a registered charity and operates from RAF Benson. The service provides emergency and urgent care by air ambulance and critical care response vehicles.

We inspected this service using our comprehensive inspection methodology. We carried out an announced inspection on 8 and 9 January 2020.

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.

This was the first time this service had been inspected and rated. We rated it as Outstanding overall.

We found outstanding practice in relation to:

  • There were comprehensive systems to keep people safe. The whole team was engaged in reviewing and improving safety and safeguarding. The service had a proactive approach to anticipating and managing risk.
  • The service had enough highly trained and qualified staff with relevant skills and experience to keep patients safe from avoidable harm and to provide the right care and treatment.
  • Innovative systems supported accurate and personalised information sharing. Staff kept detailed records of patients’ care and treatment.
  • The provider had a track record of safety supported by accurate information. The service managed patient safety incidents well. Staff recognised incidents and near misses and reported them appropriately.
  • The continual development of staff skills, competence and knowledge was recognised as being integral to ensuring high quality care. Staff were proactively supported and encouraged to acquire new skills, use their transferable skills and share best practice.
  • Leaders and staff were committed to working collaboratively and had found innovative ways to provide joined up care for those who needed the service. All those responsible for delivering care were committed to work together as a team to benefit patients.
  • People were truly respected and valued as individuals. Staff treated patients and their families with compassion and kindness, respected their dignity and privacy, and went above and beyond expectations to meet their individual needs and wishes.
  • People’s emotional and social needs were highly valued by staff and were embedded in their care and treatment. Staff highly valued the patient’s relatives and those close to them including them as partners in care.
  • Leaders had an inspiring shared purpose to deliver and motivate staff to succeed. Leaders at all levels demonstrated high levels of integrity, skills and abilities to run the service. They were fully focused on sustainability of services and aligned to local plans within the wider health economy.
  • There was a strong organisational commitment to equality and inclusion across the service. Staff were proud to work for the service and felt truly respected, supported and valued.
  • There was a systemic approach to working with partner organisations to improve care outcomes.
  • The service had invested in innovative and best practice information systems and processes. The service collected reliable data and analysed it.
  • There were consistently high levels of constructive engagement with staff and people who used the services. Leaders and staff welcomed challenge and actively and openly engaged with patients, staff, equality groups, the public and local organisations to plan and manage services.
  • All staff were committed to continually learning and improving services and sharing knowledge with services outside of the organisation.

Nigel Acheson

Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals (London and South), on behalf of the Chief Inspector of Hospitals

Inspection areas

Safe

Outstanding

Updated 18 March 2020

Effective

Good

Updated 18 March 2020

Caring

Outstanding

Updated 18 March 2020

Responsive

Good

Updated 18 March 2020

Well-led

Outstanding

Updated 18 March 2020

Checks on specific services

Emergency and urgent care

Outstanding

Updated 18 March 2020

Thames Valley Air Ambulance is an independent ambulance service and is based at RAF Benson, Oxfordshire. The service is a registered charity. The service primarily serves the communities of the Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire.

The Thames Valley Air Ambulance is a critical care Helicopter Emergency Medical Service providing critical care services to both local NHS ambulance trusts and mutual aid to neighbouring NHS ambulance services and NHS trusts.

We found the service to be outstanding in safe, caring and well-led domains. We found good practice in the effective and responsive domains. We have rated this service as outstanding overall.