1. ITV Report

South East Coast Ambulance Service out of special measures after making 'excellent progress'

  • Watch the full report by Tom Savvides

Interviewees: Dr Fionna Moore, Acting Chief Executive & Cath Campbell, Care Quality Commission & Rebecca Lemon, Emergency call adviser

South East Coast Ambulance Service has made 'excellent progress' and should be taken out of special measures, according to the health watchdog.

The Trust, which covers Kent, Surrey and Sussex, was rated Inadequate almost three years ago after it was revealed the lives of patients were being put at risk.

Now, the Care Quality Commission, has rated SECAmb as Good overall, following inspections in June and July, with some areas classed as Outstanding.

  • Click HERE to download the full report

Inspectors assessed the quality of the core services, including emergency operations centres, emergency and urgent care and the trusts out of hours and NHS 111 services.

They also looked at management and leadership to find out if the trust is well-led.

Credit: ITV News Meridian

Summary of key findings:

  • The Trust was rated as Good overall for providing safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led services - previously the Trust was rated as Requires Improvement.
  • The Trust was rated as Outstanding for emergency and urgent care (ambulance service). Staff showed a strong person-centred approach to care. They offered emotional support and treated people with compassion and kindness. Some patients told inspectors that staff often went the extra mile in proving excellent care.
  • The Trust was rated as Good for their emergency operations centre and for their NHS 111 service. Inspectors found staff worked together and with other organisations to deliver effective care and treatment. Patients were supported and empowered to manage their own health and maximise their independence. The service identified patients who may need extra support.
  • Hear from Cath Campbell from the Care Quality Commission:

The CQC had previously reported a culture of bullying and harassment within the Trust.

The Trust said it has worked hard to address this and staff spoke during inspections about the improvements and steps taken by managers at all levels to address bullying.

"I am pleased to find South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust has made excellent progress. The trust has embedded the improvements our inspectors saw at our last inspection in November 2018 and has also met the requirements we asked for.

“Nearly three years ago, we rated the trust as Inadequate overall because of concerns relating to patient safety, the organisational culture and governance. Since that time, we have been back twice to inspect and continued to monitor the trust closely. “The credit must go to the hard work and commitment of the staff and the current leadership team. I congratulate them on their achievements. The overall rating of Good reflects a substantial improvement in the quality of services at the trust and I am happy to recommend that it is removed from special measures."

– Professor Ted Baker, England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals