Sheffield-based ambulance firm told to improve

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An ambulance service in Sheffield has been ordered to improve after inspectors uncovered a catalogue of failures.

First Aid Medical Services, based on Eyre Lane in the city centre, was using dirty equipment, kept out-of-date medicines and did not run appropriate checks on staff, the Care Quality Commission said.

The firm has since launched a complaint to the CQC over the report.

In their report, CQC inspectors said they could not find any evidence ambulances were maintained properly.

FAMS covers events across the country such as concerts and athletics meetings, providing first aid and non-urgent ambulance support.

Inspectors spoke to staff, checked records and toured the firm’s headquarters.

Used paper towels, an old oxygen mask and cigarette butts littered the area where vehicles were kept, while a skip and ‘unfolded, redundant large tent’ posed a trip hazard.

Some medicines found in ambulances were up to five years out of date, while inspectors found a heart defibrillator with pads that needed replacing.

Job candidates were simply invited for an ‘informal chat’, said the report, while one patient was taken to the wrong type of hospital unit, delaying their treatment.

Suction units used to clear people’s airways were dusty, risking infection.

Martin Steer, FAMS manager, said he had lodged a complaint over the report and a new cleaning system had recently been installed.

He said: “We have a good reputation with organisations we have worked with.”