CQC Helps Taxi Firm Improves its Service to NHS

A north London taxi firm which works closely which the NHS has made improvements according to a focused Care Quality Commission inspection carried out in May 2017.

At a previous inspection Mealing Taxis Limited, based in Northwood, in the London Borough of Hillingdon, was found to be in breach of five regulations. However, during the most recent inspection the CQC found that the firm, which provides a patient transport service, had made the necessary improvements.  Mealing Taxis makes journeys to various locations within the United Kingdom. It does not undertake any urgent or emergency transfers such as responding to 999 calls. The majority of the work carried out by Mealing Taxis involves the transportation of renal dialysis patients.CQC’s previous concerns included:

The CQC’s previous concerns included:

  • Mealing Taxis had not provided staff with training in safeguarding vulnerable adults or children and staff had no or little understanding of safeguarding processes.
  • The service had not carried out independent Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks on staff as part of the recruitment process.
  • Control staff at Mealing Taxis sent patient journey information including patient identifiable information to drivers’ personal mobile phones. CQC inspectors were concerned that there was a risk patient data could be accessed by unauthorised persons.
  • There were no systems and processes for the effective reporting of incidents within the organisation.
  • The provider did not carry out appraisals or supervision of staff and this was not in line with the regulations.
  • Inspectors found poor infection control practices in the service. For example, staff had no personal protective equipment in vehicles and vehicles were visibly dirty inside.
  • There was insufficient governance in the service in relation to risk management, incident reporting, and the secure maintenance of patient records.

However, inspectors found at the most recent inspection that the provider had made improvements to address the CQC’s concerns. Inspectors found the following areas of good practice:

  • The provider had established systems and processes to protect people from abuse and improper treatment. The service had an updated safeguarding policy, which had been implemented.
  • Staff had been trained in safeguarding vulnerable adults and children and staff were knowledgeable about safeguarding processes and were able to give examples of what might constitute a safeguarding concern.
  • The service had carried out DBS checks for staff and obtained copies of DBS checks carried out by the taxi licencing authorities for drivers whose checks were pending.
  • The provider established systems and processes to enable them to assess, identify, monitor and mitigate risks.
  • There were clear processes for the reporting of incidents and staff were aware of the service’s incident reporting policy. Inspectors saw examples of incidents that had been reported in the service and how they had been investigated.
  • Mealing Taxis Limited had responded to CQC concerns around the security of patient data by providing drivers with company mobile phones to be used to communicate patient journey details to drivers by control staff.
  • Inspectors found that staff had infection prevention and control training in February 2017 and the provider updated its infection prevention and control policy which set out the infection control processes for the organisation. Drivers showed an understanding of the service’s infection control processes.
  • Three vehicles were inspected all three were found to be visually clean and free from dust. All three vehicles had gloves, hand gel, spill kits, and sanitising wipes.
  • The compliance manager for the service kept an electronic log with dates for when refresher training was due for each of the courses staff had undertaken.
  • The compliance manager and the managing director regularly appraised and supervised staff.

England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Ted Baker, said: “I am pleased there has been an improvement at Mealing Taxis Limited. As this was a focused inspection, we did not conduct an in depth review of evidence against each of our five key questions – safe, effective, caring, responsive and well led. The inspection focused on whether the service was safe, effective, and well led.“This is an important service that is used by kidney dialysis patients and it is encouraging that it has acted on what we said needed to be done during an earlier inspection.”

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