Eastbourne MP calls for SECAmb to publish investigation

Caroline Ansell SUS-150511-171150001
Caroline Ansell SUS-150511-171150001

An MP has urged an ambulance trust to publish an investigation into a ‘flawed’ scheme which delayed emergency care for patients.

Eastbourne and Willingdon MP Caroline Ansell has urged South East Coast Ambulance Service to publish more information in a bid to ‘restore public confidence in its work’.

MPs from across Sussex, Surrey, Kent and Hampshire met in Westminster for a briefing by health regulator Monitor about what happened with the R3/G5 last winter.

During the project, involving around 26,000 calls, South East Coast Ambulance Service transferred some NHS 111 calls by ‘re-triaging’ patients into the 999 system to give it an additional ten minutes for more urgent calls.

Under NHS rules, life-threatening calls are supposed to receive an ambulance response within eight minutes – prompting widespread criticism of the pilot that could have put lives at risk.

Ms Ansell said it is believed front line staff were not aware of the report.

She said: “This was a very concerning meeting to attend but I’m glad that Monitor was able to brief us on some of what has happened.

“It’s quite clear that something went very badly wrong and that it should never happen again. I am very concerned that Monitor told MPs that the investigations would remain the property of SECAmb and that it would be up to them to decide whether to publish.

“This was because it had make the difference between management decisions and those of frontline staff and that it would not be right to publish details that could identify individuals.

“While I understand the need to be sensitive about those involved and their role, particularly if no blame is attached, I think it unsatisfactory that the trust can do this.

“I urge it to make a public statement that it will publish its findings in a clear and meaningful way so that everyone can see what happened and public confidence can be restored.”

NHS England has already said the service had not fully considered patient safety, by failing to complete a risk assessment and having limited risk management when it instigated the project.

Monitor said there had been a lack of governance and disregard for national guidelines during the pilot.

Another meeting with MPs and Monitor will take place next year.

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