Ambulance service ‘requires improvement’

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The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has rated the ambulance service covering Sussex as “requires improvement” overall.

The inspection, which took place in August, looked at South East Coast Ambulance’s urgent and emergency care, as well as its resilience teams.

The inspection also checked on the Trust’s progress in meeting the requirements from a well-led inspection which took place in February. The February inspection resulted in an ‘Inadequate’ well-led rating, rated the Trust NHS 111 service as ‘Good’ but suspended other ratings until the latest inspection had been completed.

The report found that there was additional pressure on the ambulance service which included increased staff sickness and increased delays in hospital handover. It also found, as flagged in a wider national CQC report published last week, State of Care, that the South East, along with other areas, has a health and social care system that is ‘gridlocked’. Inspectors recognised that the Trust is unable to solve all of its issues alone and encouraged the Trust to work with the wider health system to find resolutions.

The Trust’s Interim Chief Executive, Siobhan Melia, said:

I am really pleased that the excellent care provided by our staff has once again been recognised and rated as ‘Good’ by the CQC, despite the huge pressures they face every day. I am very proud of the high-quality care and compassion provided by our staff.

We have already taken concerns around our culture and leadership extremely seriously and we are committed to making further improvements to ensure we improve our response to patients and the working lives of our staff. I know that there is much to do to get the Trust to where it needs to be and we are working closely with staff as well as partners both regionally and nationally to make the necessary improvements highlighted in the report.

Interim Chief Executive, South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Trust

The full inspection report can be downloaded from the CQC’s website: South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust – Care Quality Commission.

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