The local ambulance service ‘Secamb’ is out of special measures.
It was announced this morning that the South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, to give it its full name, had been taken out of special measures after almost three years.
The Care Quality Commission has given Secamb a ‘good’ overall rating.
The ambulance provider which covers Sussex, Kent, Surrey and north east Hampshire, was first rated as ‘inadequate’ in 2017 and then was told it ‘required improvement’ when it was inspected in 2018.
But inspectors say that Secamb has made ‘significant improvements’, but there is still more that can be done.
Secamb’s emergency and urgent care is said to be ‘outstanding’, including work to reduce hospital handover times and improve services for mental health patients, with staff receiving particular praise.
CQC inspectors who visited Secamb in June and July said the trust provided safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led services.
The inspectors said staff offered emotional support and treated people with compassion and kindness.
Secamb’s out-of-hours and NHS 111 service delivers ‘effective care and treatment’ say inspectors, who notes that patients were supported and empowered to manage their own health.
The trust acknowledged, however, that at times of high demand lower priority patients can sometimes wait ‘longer than they should’.
“Staff told inspectors they felt engaged and were confident their views and feedback were valued and acted upon,” the CQC said.
Secamb’s acting chief executive, Dr Fionna Moore, said: “I am very aware that there remains work to be done to ensure we meet the high standards rightly expected.
“I am, however, very confident that we are on the right path to deliver further progress.”
Hastings MP Amber Rudd welcomed this morning’s news: “It means local patients are now getting a better service and better treatment from their services,” she said
Ms Rudd went on: “I have been pressing for improvements to ambulance and patient transport services following complaints from residents across my constituency and I am delighted to see that improvements have taken place. This is good news for those who find themselves most in need and they can be assured that I will fight for the best possible services for them.
“I would like to congratulate Secamb particularly on their ‘outstanding’ rating in emergency and urgent care. This is a tremendous turnaround from the rating of ‘inadequate’ three years ago. The dedication and hard-work of the staff to deliver such an improved service cannot be understated and I am pleased that residents feel that staff often go the extra mile in proving excellent care.”