THE ambulance service which serves Oxfordshire has been praised by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for improvements to its emergency and urgent care operations.

The emergency and urgent care service at South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS)has been rated ‘good’ following its latest CQC inspection.

In 2016 the emergency and urgent care services had been rated as ‘requires improvement’.

Dr Nigel Acheson, CQC deputy chief inspector of hospitals, said: “We are all well aware of the pressures on our ambulance services so I am pleased to acknowledge the continuing improvements made by SCAS to build on the findings of our last inspection.

“The trust has implemented changes to ensure the organisation is more effective but still remains patient centred.”

Dr Acheson praised the staff who showed ‘kindness, dignity and respect to patients’ while also commending the ‘strong senior leadership’.

During the inspections in July and August, CQC inspectors looked at three of its core services: the emergency and urgent care service, the resilience service (specialist teams who deal with extreme emergencies), and the emergency operation centres.

All three areas were rated ‘good’ for being safe, caring, effective, responsive to people’s needs and well-led.

The latest inspection means SCAS retains its overall ‘good’ rating.

Following its previous inspection in 2016, the trust became the first ambulance service in the country to be given a ‘good’ rating by the health watchdog.

Chief Executive at SCAS, Will Hancock, said: “At a time when pressure on all our services continues to rise, I would like to thank all our staff and volunteers for their commitment, dedication and hard work that have been recognised in this latest CQC inspection.

"Since the last inspection in 2016, inspectors have recognised the improvements made to services, the success we have had in recruiting more staff despite considerable challenges and it is particularly pleasing that staff told the CQC they felt supported, valued and respected.

"Today’s publication recognises that we consistently deliver safe, patient-centred care across all of our services.

"I am proud to lead an organisation with such a culture of continuous improvement, and one where delivering the very best care for every patient is at the heart of what every one of my colleagues does day in, day out.”