Published: 27/03/2003, Volume II3, No. 5848 Page 9

Wiltshire Ambulance Service trust has been slated by the Commission for Health Improvement in a review which gives it the lowest possible scores across the board.

CHI described the trust's management as 'autocratic' and lacking direction.Reviewers described a controlling management culture in which some staff had reported concerns about bullying.

Equipment was in need of modernisation and reviewers found that trust radio systems were inadequate, making it impossible to record response times accurately.

The report expresses concern about limited access to education and training for staff and improved access to up-to-date clinical information.

The trust scored only Is across the board in all categories examined.

But the report, out today, commends the enthusiasm of staff, who it says are committed to patient care. It also says the service is valued by the community, and that the trust worked well with local hospitals during the transfer of services from Princess Margaret Hospital to Great Western Hospital in Swindon.

CHI chief executive Dr Peter Homa said: 'It is important that Wiltshire Ambulance Service trust provides more support to staff so they in turn can deliver an even better service to patients. There is still a lot of work to be done to ensure that quality improvement is at the top of the agenda.'