Labour Parliamentary candidate for Rochford & Southend East Ashley Dalton has called on the government to tackle the NHS funding crisis as a health watchdog highlights safety fears within the local ambulance service.

Essex Ambulance
Essex Ambulance

In a report released today, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) rated the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAS) as ‘requires improvement’ – the second-worst rating available. It said the trust was unable to meet demand thanks to staff shortages and that employees had not received proper training.

Ashley Dalton said:

It is frankly unacceptable that, thanks to chronic underfunding, hardworking ambulance staff are unable to deliver the safe and effective care patients should expect.

This Tory government is cutting back NHS services to the core, leaving staff exhausted and patients in danger. This must end before more patients’ lives are put at risk.

Labour has committed to investing £30bn in extra funding in our NHS by increasing income tax for the highest 5 percent of earners and by increasing tax on private medical insurance, as well as freeing up resources by halving the fees paid to management consultants.

The CQC said the EEAS had failed to meet response targets over the winter period, and that staff “did not feel valued” after “an exhausting winter”. In particular, the report said the trust had a “capacity gap” between the staff it employed and the number it needed to meet “increasing demands” for services.

The CQC also raised concerns that there was insufficient training in place to support staff. Most ambulance staff had not received training on dementia, for instance. The CQC rates trusts in five categories before providing an overall ranking. Those categories are: safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led. EEAS was rated as ‘requires improvement’ in all except one: caring, in which it was rated as ‘outstanding’.

Staff had been under intense pressure in the six-month period prior to our inspection. All staff we spoke with were caring and respectful of the patients they cared for. A number told us they were frustrated that they were not able to provide the best possible care for patients due to the pressures they faced, the report said.

Ashley Dalton said:

It’s clear that our NHS staff are trying their best to provide life-saving care for patients. It’s high time this government did the same.

The full CQC report is available here: https://www.cqc.org.uk/sites/default/files/new_reports/AAAH2851.pdf

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