A LACK of ambulance staff has raised fears after patients at clinical risk were not always correctly dealt with.

The South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (Secamb) has been told its care for non-urgent patients is not managed correctly.

The Care Quality Commision (CQC) found in its inspection in February that a lack of practitioners in the service meant the trust was not always able to assess the clinical risk of people needing help.

“The clinical risks of those waiting was not always appropriately managed, as there were insufficient numbers of practitioners employed to monitor the clinical risk,” the report said.

“Staff in this role showed high levels of stress due to their inability to manage the risks, given the number of patients. Many staff told us how upset and worried they were about patients experiencing long waits.”

The Argus: Secamb serves more than five million peopleSecamb serves more than five million people

“They gave us examples of attending calls where patients’ conditions had deteriorated whilst waiting. However, this was not always formally recorded as an incident.

“Staff also told us of calls attended where an ambulance was not necessary. This placed an unnecessary pressure on an already stretched service.”

It comes as the CQC also found Secamb’s leadership to be inadequate.