|South Western Ambulance Service|
NHS Foundation Trust
The NHS corporate identity logo of South Western Ambulance Service Foundation Trust
Regions served by South Western Ambulance Service
|Type||NHS foundation trust|
|Established||1 July 2006 (Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset)|
1 February 2013 (merged with Great Western Ambulance Service)
|Headquarters||Abbey Court, Eagle Way, Exeter, Devon, EX2 7HY|
|Region served||Counties and Unitary Authorities of Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, North Somerset, the Isles of Scilly, Somerset, South Gloucestershire and Wiltshire|
|NHS region||NHS England|
|Area size||51,871 km2 (20,028 mi2)|
|Establishments||96 Ambulance Stations|
|Budget||£240.5 million (2016-17)|
|Chief executive||Ken Wenman|
The South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) is the organisation responsible for providing ambulance services for the National Health Service (NHS) across South West England (the counties and unitary authorities of Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, North Somerset, the Isles of Scilly, Somerset, South Gloucestershire and Wiltshire). On 1 March 2011, SWASFT was the first ambulance service in the country to become a foundation trust. The trust acquired neighbouring Great Western Ambulance Service on 1 February 2013.
SWASFT serves a population of more than 5.47 million, and its area is estimated to receive an influx of over 17.5 million visitors each year. The operational area is predominantly rural but also has large urban centres including Bristol, Plymouth, Exeter, Truro, Bath, Swindon, Gloucester, Bournemouth and Poole.
The headquarters for the service is in Exeter, Devon, and the service has 96 ambulance stations; within its area are six charity-operated air ambulance bases. The Chief Executive is Ken Wenman, who was appointed on 1 July 2006 on creation of the trust, having previously served as the Chief Executive of the former Dorset Ambulance Service NHS Trust.
It is one of ten ambulance trusts providing England with emergency medical services and employs more than 4,500 mainly clinical and operational staff (including Paramedics, Emergency Care Practitioners, Advanced Technicians, Emergency Care Assistants, Ambulance Care Assistants and Nurse Practitioners). In addition there are around 3,200 volunteers including community first responders, BASICS doctors, fire co-responders and patient transport drivers.
The trust is one of the largest in England. It covers an area of 51,871 km2 (20,028 sq mi) and 827 miles (1,331 km) of coastline.
In 2015/2016, approximately one in eight 999 calls to South Western Ambulance Service were treated over the telephone. "Hear and treat", where the patient receives clinical advice over the telephone, accounted for 12.7% of calls. For 36.4% of incidents the patients experienced "see and treat", when the patient receives treatment or advice at the scene of the incident. In a further 7.7% of incidents, the patient was taken to a non-emergency hospital department such as a community hospital or minor injuries unit. The remaining incidents resulted in a patient being taken to a hospital emergency department, thus the majority of incidents (56.8%) resulted in a patient not being conveyed.
In 2017, SWASFT was the best performing ambulance service in the country for non-conveyance rates. In addition approximately 62% of patients taken to hospital are admitted - this is again the highest (best) performance for an ambulance trust in the country. This means that when SWASFT takes a patient to an emergency department they are likely to be admitted, not simply treated and discharged, confirming that this is the right place for them to receive the care they need.
There are 96 ambulance stations, six air ambulance bases funded and delivered by five charities, three clinical control rooms (999 control rooms), two Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) bases and one boat across the South Western Ambulance Service operational area.
In 2016, the Care Quality Commission told the South Western Ambulance Service to make significant improvements in the NHS 111 service. The inspection of the trust in 2016 identified several areas which required improvement.
In 2018, the trust said it would need an extra £12 million a year to meet the new ambulance performance standards.
The number of compliments received by the trust in 2014/2015 increased by 41% to 2,055 while complaints also rose by 20% to 1,268.
The trust is split into three divisions:
The trust has 96 ambulance stations among the counties that it serves:
SWASFT provides the non-emergency 111 helpline and triage service for Dorset, from a call centre at St Leonards. In July 2019, it announced that it was handing back the contract for these services, owing to staff shortages; the replacement provider is yet to be decided.
In May 2014, the trust won a contract to run a doctor-led minor injuries unit at Tiverton and District Hospital, open seven days a week. Patients do not need an appointment to visit the centre, which provides treatment for minor injuries and ailments.