South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) and the 22 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) that commission ambulance care across the region have welcomed plans for a major programme of work that will improve care for patients across Kent, Surrey and Sussex and North East Hampshire.
The decision follows an independent review that looked at demand for and capacity to deliver ambulance services, which was jointly commissioned by the CCGs and SECAmb.
The review, carried out by Deloitte, looked to identify the resources required by SECAmb to meet rising emergency and urgent care demand and how best to deliver the new Ambulance Response Programme standards, which have been introduced to ensure patients get the right level of care at the right time.
The review identified the need for a rolling programme of investment to help address a number of challenges and implement changes that will improve patient care and experience.
This commitment from commissioners begins with additional investment of £10m for this financial year (2018/19), with similar levels of investment over the next two years.
The additional investment will enable SECAmb to:
- significantly increase the number of front-line ambulance staff on the road and in its Emergency Operations Centres (EOCs)
- ensure it has the right number of staff, with the right skills, to meet the changing needs of its patients
- improve its fleet, to ensure the Trust has the right number and type of vehicles available to respond to all categories of call
A Strategic Oversight Group will oversee the implementation of a plan to enable SECAmb to meet all national performance standards, which form part of the new national Ambulance Response Programme, introduced in SECAmb in November 2017, and the additional resources, in terms of both staff and finances, needed to achieve this.
SECAmb Chief Executive Daren Mochrie said: “I am really pleased that by working closely with our commissioners over a number of months we have been able to agree and secure this vital additional funding. This is great news for our patients and staff and a positive move to ensure we are better placed to meet and tackle the demand and challenges we face in the years ahead.
“The ambulance service plays a key role in the wider NHS and I am confident that this significant investment will not only help us directly as an organisation but, through the improvements we are able to deliver, the wider NHS as a whole across our region.
“This is an important step ahead of the winter months when, as ever, we will face increased demand. I'd like to thank everyone who has been involved in this work but also pay tribute to all our staff, who continue to work hard and with the utmost professionalism, to ensure patients receive the care they deserve.”
Matthew Tait, Joint Accountable Officer for North West Surrey CCG who are the lead commissioner for the SECAmb contract for the region added:
“The outcome of the jointly commissioned independent review has provided us with a clear plan of action that will address a number of challenges facing the trust and improve care so this is a really positive development for patients, the trust and for us as commissioners.
“We recognise additional resources are needed to deliver these improvements and a key part of the plan includes substantial additional investment not only this year, but every year for the next few years so we can achieve our ambitions and really transform how care is provided in the longer-term. These improvements will also support the wider health and care system, particularly as we head towards winter, so this is a really positive development that will benefit both patients and the wider system.”