AMBULANCE bosses have been told they must improve as inspectors found concerns around the leadership of the service.

The Care Quality Commission rated the East of England Ambulance Service as requiring improvement following a visit in April and May.

Inspectors rated how well led the service is as inadequate and safety and how effective the service is remained as requires improvement.

Responsiveness improved to the good rating and the caring section remained outstanding.

Prof Ted Baker, the CQC’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said: “The services still did not have enough staff to care for patients and keep them safe despite a focus on recruitment and retention.

“People continued to wait too long for services and response times, although improved, were worse than the England average.

“Despite this, we found that staff were overwhelmingly caring and dedicated to providing the best care they could.”

Inspectors raised concerns improvements “may not be progressed or sustainable” due to a number of key roles having interim incumbents.

The report added: “There remained a mixed culture within the trust with concerns remaining around bullying and harassment despite the trust undertaking a number of actions to address the issue.

“Recent initiatives introduced to improve culture had not been in place long enough to assess their effectiveness.”

Inspectors said the senior leaders were aware of the challenges and were “in the process of developing actions to address them”.

Ed Garratt, who represents clinical commissioning groups across the region, said: “The paramedics, technicians, control room staff and volunteers should be rightly proud of the work they do.

“People call the ambulance service at some of the worst times of their lives, so to retain outstanding for care and move to good for being responsive is important progress.”

“While there is much to do, the new chief executive and chairman are making clear improvements.”

Nigel Beverley, interim chair, said: “There has been turnover within the trust board in the last few months.

“However, we are strengthening the leadership and rebuilding the senior team over the next 12 months.”