Kent private ambulance service NSL 'must improve'

NSL ambulance
Image caption NSL provides non urgent ambulance services for patients in Kent

An ambulance service used by hospitals in Kent has been told it must improve after it failed a second Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection.

The report found NSL Kent did not meet standards in three key areas, although improvements had been made since a previous inspection in November 2013.

The private ambulance service has been providing non-urgent transport for patients in Kent for more than a year.

NSL said it has made more improvements since the March inspection.

The CQC report found that NSL Kent had failed to meet necessary standards in how it supported staff, how it trained staff, and how it cared for patients who used the service.

Future inspection

Among the complaints, inspectors found fewer ambulances were available after 18:00 BST, despite the fact it was meant to be a 24-hour service, causing problems for patients travelling overnight.

A spokesperson for NSL said it was "disappointing" that it had taken four months for the CQC to release the report as it "no longer reflects where we are".

"Since the inspection, progress has been made and we are getting more patients to their appointments early or on time," they said.

They added that the company was "not satisfied about where we are but we are definitely heading in the right direction".

The CQC has warned it will make a future inspection to check if standards are being met.

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