Taverham-based private ambulance service Norvic criticised by inspectors

A private ambulance service has been told it must make improvements, after inspectors found it was not meeting six essential standards.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) visited Norvic Ambulance, which is a leading provider of independent ambulance services primarily in the East of England, with its headquarters in Taverham.

Norvic is contracted to provide daily support to the East of England Ambulance Service and is an independent supplier to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. The company also works in partnership with a number of hospitals in the region, including the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston and The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn.

Inspectors from the CQC visited Norvic in Taverham in April, and found that while it was meeting standards in two outcomes, action was needed to address the concerns in another six.

Inspectors said people using the service, staff and other were not well protected from the risks of infection, because appropriate standards of cleanliness were not being effectively monitored and cleaning procedures were not always followed correctly.

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Concerns were also raised that patients were not effectively protected from the risks associated with the unsafe use and management of medicines, because arrangements to manage controlled drugs were not sufficiently robust.

Recruitment procedures did not effectively ensure that all staff were fit to perform their roles, nor did Norvic effectively manage the checks made to ensure that applicants could safely work with children and vulnerable adults.

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Norvic employs around 160 staff, including a significant number of bank staff, who work shifts as and when required.

The CQC said it needs to improve its supervision, appraisal and training of staff, as well assuring that its patient records are securely kept.

The company was also criticised for failing to record how complaints were managed, or whether checks were carried out following incidents.

John Banbury, director of Norvic, said they felt the inspection had been a positive experience and the company was working hard to address the points raised, many of which centred on the way records are kept, followed, actioned and reviewed.

He said: 'It's not that we don't do these things. A lot of the points are to do with documentation and how you report these things.'

Mr Banbury said the company had assigned a team to make changes identified in the report and to work with the CQC on meeting the required standards.

He added: 'We found it quite enlightening and it was a constructive day. We have welcomed the report and we want to continue developing and improving to be the best that we can.'

The CQC is due to visit Norvic again to see if improvements have been made.

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