Decision details

South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust - provider update

Decision Maker: Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


Ray Savage, Strategy and Partnership Manager at SECAmb and Bethan Eaton-Haskins, Executive Director of Nursing and Quality at SECAmb were in attendance for this item at the invitation of the committee.

1.    South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust had provided a report which updated the Committee on service developments since their March 2020 update.


2.    Bethan Eaton-Haskins provided a verbal overview of the report and highlighted the launch of 111 First as the foremost service development between March and November 2020.


3.    Mrs Eaton-Haskins addressed Covid-19 planning, response and governance. She informed the committee that investments had been made by the Service in reusable PPE, members of staff had been tested twice a week, control room staff capacity had doubled, whilst social distancing had been upheld. She noted that former airline industry employees had been employed as part of the control room expansion and that their customer service expertise had been of great benefit to the service.


4.    Mrs Eaton-Haskins reassured the Committee that due to the flexibility and consistency of mobile staff testing, rates of staff illness and total staff hours lost had not been as high as originally anticipated.


5.    Mrs Eaton-Haskins and Mr Savage responded to comments and questions from the Committee, including the following:-

a)                Mrs Eaton-Haskins confirmed that newly hired temporary control room staff were employed under the NHS’s national pay system “Agenda for Change”;


b)                Mrs Eaton-Haskins was asked what measures had been put in place to manage and reduce patient waiting times. She confirmed that three task and finish groups met each week to improve processes and act on recent developments; joint reviews in collaboration with Trusts had operated to reduce risk;  and harm reviews had been undertaken to analyse the impact of extended waiting times;


c)                 a Member asked where ambulances had been directed in instances where the patient had been Covid positive. Mrs Eaton-Haskins explained that the Trust of destination was dependent on the patient’s condition and their needs. It was also noted that patient preferences were taken into account where possible;


d)                asked what had caused the patient diversion at the Medway Maritime Hospital on 23 November 2020 and the impact of this on patients, Mrs Eaton-Haskins confirmed that the pressure had arisen from high patient admission numbers, which had been resolved with the support of all Trusts across Kent who took additional patients without breaching their own capacity. No negative patient impact as a result of the diversion was noted; and


e)                regarding the Clinical Assessment Service, the Chair asked for confirmation on the timing of the full roll-out across Kent. Mr Savage confirmed that ‘111 First’ would be active across Kent from Friday 27 November 2020. He outlined the progress of the go-live programme which began with Medway on 16 September, West Kent on 17 November, Darent Valley on 23 November and would conclude with East Kent on 27 November. Mr Savage detailed the operating procedures undertaken to govern the project and noted that positive results had been received from Medway regarding the impact of ‘111 First’ in the area: 20-23% of patients had been re-directed from the Emergency Department to other appropriate services as a result. 


6.    The Chair thanked SECAmb for their continued work protecting the people of Kent during the pandemic.


7.    It was RESOLVED that the report be noted.


Publication date: 06/01/2021

Date of decision: 24/11/2020

Decided at meeting: 24/11/2020 - Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee

Accompanying Documents: