South East Coast Ambulance Service

Map of the South East Coast Ambulance Service's coverage

The South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) is the NHS Ambulance Services Trust for south-eastern England, covering Kent (including Medway), Surrey, West Sussex and East Sussex (including Brighton and Hove). It also covers a part of north-eastern Hampshire around Aldershot, Farnborough, Fleet and Yateley. SECAmb was made a NHS Foundation Trust on 1 March 2011 - one of only two FTs in England.

It is one of 12 ambulance trusts providing England with emergency medical services, and is part of the National Health Service, receiving direct government funding for its role. There is no charge to patients for use of the service, and under the Patient's Charter, every person in the United Kingdom has the right to the attendance of an ambulance in an emergency.

The service came into being on 1 July 2006, with the merger of the former Kent Ambulance Service, Surrey Ambulance Service and Sussex Ambulance Service.


Until March 2016, the Chief Executive of the Trust was Paul Sutton, who was previously Chief Executive Officer of Sussex Ambulance Service, and the Trust's Chair was Tony Thorne. On 14 March 2016, the BBC announced that Thorne had resigned, and that Sutton would be taking a leave of absence from the trust.[1] At the request of the health regulator for England, Monitor, Thorne was replaced by Sir Peter Dixon who will act as the trust's interim chair.[2]

The Trust responds to 999 calls from the public and urgent calls from health professionals: in Kent and Sussex, it also provides non-emergency patient transport services (pre-booked patient journeys to and from health care facilities). In addition, the Trust provides the crews and maintains the three ambulances of the Neonatal Transfer Service for Kent, Surrey and Sussex.

It serves a population of around 4.5 million. During the financial year (2005/06) the three predecessor Trusts responded to about 460,000 emergency calls.


In January 2015 it was reported that the Trust had told paramedics to leave patients at A&E departments if they had not been admitted within 45 minutes of arrival.[3] In March 2015 the Trust's "immediate handover policy" which was invoked on 10 February 2015 for an hour was condemned by clinicians at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust as “unsafe and likely to pose a notable increase to risk for patients in the emergency department”. [4]

In November 2015 it emerged that the Trust had set up a project which ran from December 2014 to February 2015 where calls were transferred from the NHS 111 system and an additional 10 minutes was allocated to the response time which is part of the nationally agreed operating standards. This delayed the despatch of ambulances to up to 20,000 patients. [5] It was condemned by NHS England for putting the "public at risk" because there was "no evaluation built into its design".[6]

Regional Air Ambulance Services

Main article: Kent Air Ambulance

The ambulance region is served by two air ambulances operated by the Kent Air Ambulance Trust, the Kent Air Ambulance, and the Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance, which operate dedicated services.

In Sussex, this is supplemented by the Sussex Police Air Operations Unit, who run a helicopter jointly with SECAmb, called Hotel 900, which responds to both police and ambulance requests for assistance.

See also


  1. "Ambulance chairman in NHS 111 calls row resigns". BBC News Online. 14 March 2016. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  2. "'Fundamental failings' led to Secamb ambulance delays". BBC News Online. 15 March 2016. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  3. "Ambulance staff told to leave patients at A&E departments if they have not been admitted after 45 minutes". Independent. 18 January 2015. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  4. "Ambulance handover policy criticised by clinicians". Health Service Journal. 10 March 2015. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  5. "Email leaks reveal South East Coast ambulance concerns". BBC News. 4 November 2015. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  6. "South East Coast Ambulance Service apologises as NHS report states it put 'public at risk'". Get Surrey. 6 November 2015. Retrieved 6 November 2015.

External links

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