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South East Coast Ambulance Service remains in special measures as CQC report says it requires improvement

The ambulance trust serving Kent has been told it requires improvement following its latest inspection and remains in special measures.

South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) was inspected by the Care Quality Commission following various improvements made since the last inspection.

The CQC report, which follows planned inspections of the Trust in July and August, recommended to NHS Improvement, the body which oversees foundation trusts, that it remains in special measures while the improvements made are further embedded throughout.

SECAmb remains in special measures after inspectors ruled the trust requires improvement
SECAmb remains in special measures after inspectors ruled the trust requires improvement

The report found staff were not always reporting incidents but inspectors found there had been an improvement since their last visit.

Staff shortages were also noted in both the emergency operations centre and emergency and urgent care core services which had an impact on the safety of both staff and patients.

Staffing concerns were often found around recruitment and retention which put pressure on existing members of staff to meet public demand. This had a direct impact on calls where patients were waiting for an ambulance for extended periods of time. This also put pressure on staff who often could not take their meal breaks which impacted on their well-being.

SECAmb was praised for various aspects of its work including the compassion staff showed to patients and the inspection found medicine management was robust and effective.

The support for maternity patients was described as "excellent".

“We are aware that there remains work to be done and this has already been taking place since the inspection, prior to the publication of the CQC’s report..." - SECAmb chief executive Daren Mochrie

However, the latest report found the trust was not meeting national ambulance response standards.

Chief executive Daren Mochrie 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.

“We are aware that there remains work to be done and this has already been taking place since the inspection, prior to the publication of the CQC’s report.

"I know that right across the trust, staff are committed to further improve the services we provide to our patients.

“I welcome last month’s increased funding decision by our commissioners, which will ensure that we can continue to make improvements and that we have the future capacity to deliver the service our communities rightly expect and deserve in the years to come.”

Trust Chair David Astley said: “In the short time I have been with the trust, I have been very impressed with all the staff I have met. They show tremendous commitment every day to our patients and they should be very proud.

“I and the board are pleased with what we see as a positive report but recognise there is more to be done. We will continue to support the trust as it moves forward and make further improvements.”

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