South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) has welcomed the Care Quality Commission (CQC) report on its services which rates the Trust as ‘Good’ overall and its Urgent & Emergency Care service as ‘Outstanding’ overall, including an ‘Outstanding’ rating for its Caring quality. 

Following the CQC’s recommendations, NHS Improvement announced that SECAmb will no longer be in Special Measures.

The report, which follows planned inspections of the Trust’s services in June and July, sees the Trust rated as ‘Good’ overall in each of the inspection areas – safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led. The Trust is pleased that the NHS 111 service has retained its overall rating of ‘Good’.

Acting Chief Executive Dr Fionna Moore said: “This positive report is testament to the huge amount of work that has been ongoing at SECAmb for the past couple of years. I am delighted, but not surprised, that staff have been recognised for the fantastic care they provide to patients and pleased that the big improvements we have made as a Trust during the past couple of years have been acknowledged.”

Across emergency and urgent care, several areas were highlighted as ‘Outstanding’ including work to reduce hospital handover times and improve services for mental health patients, with staff receiving particular praise. Inspectors also commended the introduction of Joint Response Units with police services and the Trust’s Wellbeing Hub, which provides a range of resources to assist staff with their physical and mental health.

While the Trust is pleased that the CQC has evidenced such significant improvements, it is aware that there are areas where further work is required.

The Trust is working hard to improve its response times to less seriously ill and injured patients. While SECAmb is performing well against the national average in responding to the most serious call categories (category one and two), at times of high demand patients in lower priority categories can sometimes wait longer than they should. Recent weeks have seen an improvement in the Trust’s response times to these patients and it is committed to further improvements.

It is also committed to improving staffing levels across the Trust, including in its Emergency Operations Centres.

Dr Moore added “I would like to thank everyone at SECAmb for the dedication and commitment they show, day-in, day-out and hope they take a moment to celebrate how much we have achieved.

“I am very aware that there remains work to be done to ensure we meet the high standards rightly expected. I am, however, very confident that we are on the right path to deliver further progress.”