The North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust been criticised following a health watchdog inspection.

 The Care Quality Commission (CQC) criticised the trust for not always sending the most appropriate vehicle to patients and for taking too many to hospital.

 Professor Sir Mike Richards, CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, said compared with England’s nine other regional ambulance services, it was the most likely to send an ambulance rather than deal with an emergency caller by finding alternative solutions.

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 However, overall, the CQC said the trust provided safe and effective services which were well-led and with a clear focus on quality.

 Trust chief executive Bob Williams said: “Providing care to a high standard with compassion and empathy is what an NHS organisation is all about and it is very heartening to hear that the CQC has observed this in action in the North West.”

 The inspection team spent four days in August visiting the trust’s three emergency operations centres and shadowing ambulance crews and paramedics.

 They visited 50 of the 100 ambulance stations within the trust and A&E and outpatient departments to talk to patients and staff about their experience of the ambulance service.

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