Number of ambulance safety incidents almost doubles - but trust praises staff reporting

PUBLISHED: 11:30 02 November 2018 | UPDATED: 11:58 02 November 2018

Dorothy Hosein. Picture: Ian Burt

Dorothy Hosein. Picture: Ian Burt

The number of safety incidents reported at the region’s ambulance trust nearly doubled in the space of a year.

East of England Ambulance Service.

 Picture: James BassEast of England Ambulance Service. Picture: James Bass

East of England Ambulance Trust had the highest number of safety incidents reported out of all 10 services across the country - despite only reporting three months of data instead of the full six.

But in the vast majority of those cases (87.9pc) the patient was found to have suffered no harm - and the trust also had the joint lowest percentage of harm to patients rated as high.

A spokesman for the trust said: “In most cases we perform well when compared to other trusts.”

There had been a dramatic rise in the number of incidents reported - from 949 between October 2016 and March 2017, and 1,738 for the same period the following year.

But the spokesman added: “We welcome the sustained increase in staff reporting as it shows growing confidence from colleagues in what we can all learn when things go wrong. The figures show we reported nearly double the amount of incidents compared to the second highest trust.”

It comes as the trust confirmed Dorothy Hosein would be taking over from embattled chief executive Robert Morton, who announced he would be stepping down in September.

This newspaper first reported Mrs Hosein was tipped for the job, on an interim basis, last month but at the time the trust was unable to confirm.

She started in the role on November 1.

Mrs Hosein was widely praised for leading the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in King’s Lynn, out of special measures in 2015. It has since been rated as inadequate again.

Kathy McLean, executive medical director at NHSI Improvement told the Health Service Journal (HSJ) that comparing safety incident year-on-year could be “misleading”, and said it would be more useful to look at three years of data.

However, in the regulator’s own report it compared the year-on-year statistics. The report said: “Increases in the number of incidents reported reflects improved reporting culture and should not be interpreted as a decrease in the safety of the NHS.”

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