Inspectors have awarded the region’s ambulance service an overall rating of ‘good’ after noting impressive improvements in its effectiveness and safety.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) had previously found Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (YAS) was facing “real challenges” in delivering quality services to a population of more than five million people across a vast geographical area.
Its inspectors returned to visit the trust in September 2016, examining all key services, including emergency operations centres, urgent and emergency care, and patient transport services.
Sir Mike Richards, chief inspector of hospitals, said: “Although we found a caring organisation in 2015, we told the trust it must improve the safety, effectiveness, and responsiveness of the service it was providing to the people of Yorkshire.
“Since then, it is clear that the trust has worked hard to address the issues we raised, and I am pleased to be able to change its rating from Requires Improvement to Good.”
A report published today highlights how YAS has gone from being one of the worst performing ambulance trusts for reviving patients after cardiac arrest, to one of the top performing.
Other improvements include better systems for equipment checks and maintenance, and new staff engagement initiatives.
YAS chief executive Rod Barnes said: “We are delighted with the outcome of the CQC’s recent inspection of our organisation.
“It makes me immensely proud that the commitment of our staff and volunteers and the great care they provide have been formally recognised.”
Outstanding areas of practice included support for a network of 670 public access defibrillators and access to palliative care nurses at weekend via the 111 service.
Sir Mike said: “We were impressed with the improvements we saw, and the staff at Yorkshire Ambulance Service should be pleased with their new rating.
"However, there is still work to do to ensure that the trust can sustain these changes and CQC has also told the trust where it must make further improvements.”
The CQC said the trust must ensure there are sufficient numbers of suitably qualified staff at all times.
It must also ensure all patient transport service vehicles are appropriately cleaned and secure seating for children is available.
Mr Barnes said: "We will use the CQC’s feedback to help shape future developments and raise standards further."