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THE ambulance service that covers the Portsmouth area has scooped an accolade at a national awards ceremony.

South Central Ambulance Service was crowned Ambulance Trust of the Year at the 2011 Health Business Awards ceremony, held in London.

It was nominated for the award as NHS figures showed it was the best performing ambulance trust in England in terms of response times.

The award recognised its continued to improve its non-conveyance rates, meaning fewer people are taken to hospital as they are treated at the scene.

The service is the national leader, with 42.5 per cent of patients being treated without having to go to hospital – an increase of 3.9 per cent over the past year.

Chief executive officer Will Hancock said: ‘I’m proud we have been given this award for achieving real improvements in response times and non-conveyance rates.

‘It is a testament to all the hard work of our staff and partners and their commitment to improve patient care.’