A WATCHDOG has criticised the auditing of drugs and training of crews by the Yorkshire Ambulance Service.

An inspection report was published yesterday by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), just after The Press reported paramedics’ concerns about proposals to cut the number of ambulances in York and Selby and incease the use of cars staffed by one paramedic.

The regulator said action was needed to improve the management of medicines, claiming regular audits were not being consistently completed in line with policy.

It said there was an increased risk that a paramedic might find a medicine they needed had been used and not replaced.

The CQC also said emergency ambulance staff had said their appraisals were perfunctory and not meaningful, and they had difficulty getting trained due to work pressures and the need to prioritise operational work. It said one paramedic had told the CQC there was not enough training to keep clinical skills up to date.

However the report, published after an unannounced inspection in July, said ambulance crews were treating patients with respect and involving them in discussions about their care and treatment, and people told inspectors that crews had been polite and helpful.

Patients also experienced care, treatment and support that met their support, and hospital medical staff had all spoken positively about the service.

A trust spokeswoman said the CQC had concluded that it fully met four out of six essential standards of quality and safety, with two minor concerns raised in relation to the others.

“Before the inspection, the trust was aware of, and taking action on, most of the issues highlighted and where this was not the case, has put measures in place to address the concerns,” she said.

Chief executive David Whiting said: “The overarching view of the quality and safety of services at the Trust is very positive, but we acknowledge that improvements are required in the consistency of drug stock audits and our staff supervision and appraisal process.

“We are already addressing the minor concerns which have been raised by the CQC and are committed to achieving the required improvements as quickly as possible.”