HW Responds to SECamb investigation by its regulator, Monitor

5th November 2015

On 29th October 2015, Healthwatch in the South East were informed by Monitor that it would be taking enforcement action against South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb), under the Health and Social Care Act 2012. This was due to concerns about how the Trust managed a project to change standard operating procedures for some calls to the NHS 111 service which were transferred to the NHS 999 service.

This notification was followed by a stakeholder briefing from SECAmb, which outlined the Trust’s response to Monitor.

SECAmb responds to 999 calls from the public, urgent calls from healthcare professionals, provide NHS 111 services across the region and in Surrey and Sussex provide non-emergency patient transport services.

Kate Scribbins, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Surrey said:

“People who contact the NHS 999 and 111 services have the right to feel confident that the service they are requesting is reliably organised and run properly. This is particularly important for people who are critically ill. They need to be able to trust that their call for help is being prioritised and dealt with immediately.

Healthwatch Surrey is concerned to be informed that this project is likely to have had safety implications for patients, and the fact Monitor has decided to take this formal action, is a further indication of the seriousness of the situation.

Within the enforcement undertakings issued by Monitor, SECAmb has agreed to commission a forensic review of the circumstances surrounding the project. This includes a review of its governance and the impact of the project on patients. As the local health and social care consumer champion for the people of Surrey, we believe that Healthwatch should play a key role in this review, most notably on the impact on patients and their families, to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.

If anyone has any concerns about this or any other health or social care issue, please get in touch. We are here to champion the voice of local people”.

People can contact Healthwatch Surrey on 0303 303 0023 (local rate) or via the website hwsurrey.dev.onpressidium.com