The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published its report
following a planned inspection of South East Coast Ambulance
Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) in May.

The report gives the Trust a ‘good’ rating for its service being
caring but highlights a number of areas of concern. The report
judges the Trust to be ‘inadequate’ overall and NHS Improvement has
placed the Trust into special measures.

SECAmb is committed to improving the quality of its service and
would like to reassure the public that it has already been working
hard to implement a number of important changes. The Trust also
welcomes the additional support placement into special measures

Acting Chief Executive, Geraint Davies said: “While we are
pleased that the dedication and care of our staff is highlighted as
good in this report, we are sorry that we have not met the
standards expected in a number of other areas.

“Following initial feedback from the CQC we have already been
working on and implementing a number of improvements. I would like
to reassure everyone we serve that I, along with my senior team, am
committed and focused on ensuring these necessary changes continue.
We are determined to implement the changes required to restore
confidence in our service.”

“I would also like to take this opportunity to point to the
enormous amount of excellent work undertaken every day by our staff
across our region, often in challenging circumstances, to respond
to and treat patients, be it responding to a major road collision
or saving the life of a patient in cardiac arrest. 

SECAmb already has a recovery plan in place and has taken action
across a number of areas to address concerns including those set
out below.

• Although recruiting and retaining enough staff remains a
significant issue for the Trust, 60 new front-line staff have
joined the Trust since 1 April – 18 Paramedics and 42 ECSWs, with a
further 289 staff (144 paramedics, 84 Emergency Care Support
Workers and 61 Associate Practitioners) in the pipeline to join us
by April 2017. 53 new Emergency Medical Advisors (999 call-takers)
have joined the Trust already, with a further 40 in the pipeline
for the remainder of the year. In NHS 111, 62 new Health Advisors
(HAs) have started this year and a further 36 HAs are in the
pipeline to join over coming months.
• We have strengthened our systems for the management of
medicines and taken action to address the issues identified. We
have audited the drug rooms in all stations. In all locations
controlled drugs are stored in line with the legal requirements.
Non-controlled medicines are stored in lockable cabinets.
• A detailed action plan focused on recruitment, retention,
operational performance, staff engagement and external stakeholder
engagement has been developed for NHS 111. As a result performance
has steadily improved and in August surpassed performance
trajectories, agreed with commissioners, on all measures.
• The Trust has undertaken a Trust-wide Infection Prevention
& Control (IPC) awareness campaign, rolled out extra training
and recruited IPC Leads in every operational area. To support this,
all operational areas are undertaking regular spot-checks and
audits to ensure that improved standards are maintained.
• The Trust has worked hard to raise awareness of safeguarding
processes to all staff, as well as creating a new process for
on-going monitoring of safeguarding referrals by operational staff.
There are now new formal links in place between safeguarding and
complaints to close any gaps between the two processes.

The report also highlights areas where the Trust does well.
These include:

• The CQC reported how caring our staff were and how they
behaved with kindness and understanding towards patients, even when
faced with difficult situations.
• 111 call takers treated callers as individuals and treated
them in a non-judgmental way
• The Trust encourages staff to take on additional roles and
responsibilities and provided training and support to enhance the
paramedic roles. The specialist paramedics’ roles such as the
critical care paramedic had expanded and developed.

Geraint Davies added: “I fully recognise that this is a
challenging time for the Trust and accept that these are serious
concerns which we must address. We understand the seriousness of
placement into special measures but value the additional support
that this offers us. We expect that the move will mean the work we
have already started can continue at pace.”