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Brighton Journal | 5th April 2020

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South East Ambulance Service trust remains under special measures

South East Ambulance Service trust remains under special measures
Hannah Midgley

A local ambulance service has failed to improve from its status of requiring “special measures” despite changes in care taking place since their last inspections.


South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust was visited by inspectors between July and September. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) have released a statement deeming the case “too early” to judge if improvements made to the previously inadequate service were sustainable enough to be taken off special measures.


SECAmb face the pressures of inadequate staffing and slow response rates


Brighton resident, Rita, who waited 45 minutes for an ambulance in July, told Brighton Journal: “I was asked if the patient was breathing, and when I told them she was, it was as if I could sense the lack of urgency on their side.” Rita was calling for an elderly lady who had tumbled in the middle of a busy road. She was bleeding and hurt, but did not seek professional medical attention for 45 minutes whilst Rita waited with the 92 year old.


Despite this, SECAmb scored above the national average response time for Category 1 and 2 calls, where cases are believed to be critical. However, they fell into problems regarding their slow response times for category 3 and 4 calls, like Rita’s, where the emergency is not deemed as urgent.


The report from CQC drew attention to the problem of poor numbers of staff in the emergency operations centre, as well as issues of time as operators failed to answer calls promptly. An report from HSJ in August this year criticised the time 999 calls were being left unanswered, with two incidents believed to have led to the death of two patients in the South East.


SECAmb chief executive Daren Mochrie urged that improvements have already begun in light of their inadequate inspection. He said: “I am pleased that the CQC have found a significant number of improvements since their last inspection and I am confident that the trust is on the right path to make further progress.”


Furthermore, chief inspector of hospitals, Professor Ted Baker, said he was pleased to see “signs of change” in the progress of the South East emergency service.



Featured image: SECAmb





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