South East Coast Ambulance Service under fire for transferring 111 calls to 999 service to buy more time

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AN AMBULANCE trust that covers part of Hampshire is under review after it ran a project that increased the time patients had to wait for help without considering the impact on their safety.

Regulator Monitor has taken action at South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust.

The trust ran a project between December 2014 and February 2015 where some 111 calls were transferred to the 999 system. This meant some patients had to be assessed twice. The idea was that this would buy the trust time to hit its targets for high-priority cases. It affected calls which were placed in the second most serious category, issues which could be life-threatening but less time-critical.

The trust is working with Monitor to review the service.

Chief executive Paul Sutton said: ‘We recognise the proper processes were not fully followed in setting up the project and we do apologise for this. The decision was made during a time of high demand and undertaken to respond promptly to the most seriously-ill patients.’