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South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust Chief Executive Paul Sutton leaves post

By Claire McWethy

The chief executive of South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) has left his post, two months after the trust came under fire over a controversial helpline pilot scheme.

A spokesman for SECAmb said: “South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust announces that Chief Executive Paul Sutton has now left the Trust to pursue other interests.

"The Trust would like to thank Paul for his contribution to the developments and achievements of the Trust over the past 10 years.

Chief executive Paul Sutton

Chief executive Paul Sutton

"The process for finding a permanent replacement will start immediately and will be subject to further announcements as appropriate.

"In the interim period, Geraint Davies will continue as acting chief executive.”

Mr Sutton had taken a "mutually-agreed" leave of absence after the ambulance service was criticised over a controversial policy which led to some patients having to wait longer for ambulance.

Ambulance stock picture

Ambulance stock picture

The pilot, which was in place between December 2014 and February 2015, saw a delay before emergency NHS 111 calls were put through to the 999 number, meaning the service was able to meet its response time targets.

Claims were published in The Telegraph that at least 11 patient deaths had been linked to the policy.

This was refuted by SECAmb.

An independent review claimed "fundamental failings" were made by the trust.

Secamb's chairman Tony Thorne announced his resignation shortly after the report was published in March.

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