999 Services’ performance in Medway improves above average

Medway residents can now receive a better 999 service as its performance has been improved significantly since last year.

The Care Quality Committee (CQC) reviewed South East Coast Ambulance Service Foundation Trust (SECAmb) as inadequate on September 29, 2017.

It was detailed that how patients had abandoned their telephone calls for help – particularly on weekends, due to lack of staffs.

The trust, which provides services to Kent, Medway, Surrey and Sussex, joined the Ambulance Response Programme (ARP) on November 22, 2017.

Wendy Purdy, chairman of the health and adult social care overview and scrutiny committee at Medway Council, said: “I think that they are doing quite well.

“Long way to go, but with the pressures that they are under, I think they have improved greatly. If they continue that way, we would all be very happy.”

The ARP is a nationally driven initiative aimed to improve the way the ambulance service responds to the most critically ill patients.

It was introduced after a research made by the University of Sheffield, where over 14 million ambulance calls were monitored during the trails with no patient safety incidents recorded.

A spokesperson from the SECAmb, said: “We are pleased to have successfully implemented the Ambulance Response Programme and new response standards.

“A large amount of work went into ensuring we were ready and staff were trained to operate well on the new system.”

A key change has been made to the standards on how to measure whether the service is sufficient or not. There are now four new categories: Category 1 is for calls about people with life-threatening injuries and illness; Category 2 is for emergency calls; Category 3 is for urgent calls, and Category 4 is for less urgent calls.

“We are pleased that we are performing above the national average for response times for both Category 1 and Category 2 calls – the two most serious categories during what was, as ever, a very busy December.

“We recognise, however, that there is a lot more work to be done both here and in less serious calls to further improve our response time performance,” He added.

According to the latest report provided to Medway Council, performance for Medway has generally been above the average for the SECAmb area.

It turns out that any Category 1 calls would be responded on an average of 6 minutes and any Category 2 calls would be responded within 14 minutes.

A new budget of £15.1 million would be delivered to Cost Improvement Programme by SECAmb at month 8.

The trust is also on track to deliver a £1 million deficit to its service.

Joe Garcia from the SECAmb at the health and adult social care overview and scrutiny committee meeting yesterday, said: “If we continue to engage across the system and make sure we are doing what we can to ensure that we are able to support the whole system, across not just Kent area, but Surrey and Sussex areas as well.”