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Amb service rallies support

Press release - 16 July 2010

South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Trust (SECAmb) is celebrating the support it has received from close to 5,000 local people across Surrey, Sussex and Kent who have joined the Trust as members.

As part of its quest to become a foundation trust (FT) the Trust has been engaging with local communities and asking local people to show their support and become involved in their local ambulance service by signing up to be a member.

SECAmb has reached its initial membership target of 4,500 with 4,630 members of the public, MPs, councillors and fellow healthcare professionals, having now signed up as members. The Trust is aiming to increase this initial membership total by 10 per cent each year.

NHS foundation trusts are a new type of NHS trust. They are still part of the NHS but are run locally, and are accountable to patients, local people and staff rather than the Department of Health. FTs still have to meet national targets and are regularly inspected but they have more freedom to develop services based on the needs of local people.

SECAmb’s Chief Executive, Paul Sutton said: “Foundation trust status will give us more financial and operational freedom, meaning we can make the improvements our patients need and deserve at a much quicker pace. With support and involvement from the public we believe we can develop our ambulance service into one that provides world-class care to our patients - they deserve nothing less.

“I’m delighted so many people have signed up as members and want to work with us to improve care for local communities. I’d urge anyone who’s interested but has not yet joined as a member to get involved and have their say to help shape the future of their ambulance service.”

SECAmb, which is on track to become an FT this winter, has hosted and attended a large number of public events to deliver important healthcare messages on life-threatening conditions such as stroke and heart disease and to explain why becoming an FT is an important part of the Trust’s plans.

By registering as members, residents, patients, SECAmb staff and representatives from partner organisations will have a chance to be more involved in how 999 emergency healthcare services are developed in the future.

Members can then be elected on to a ‘Council of Governors’ where they will represent the interests and views of patients, local people, staff and partner organisations.

Anyone interested in showing their support by signing up as a member or who wants to find out more, should call 01273 897840, email foundationtrust@secamb.nhs.uk or visit www.secamb.nhs.uk.

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