AN ambulance service is to remain in special measures as it has not made enough improvements quickly enough.

South East Coast Ambulance Service (Secamb) is to keep its inadequate rating after a follow-up inspection by the Care Quality Commission. (CQC)

The CQC inspected the trust in May last year, looking at its emergency operations centres and emergency and urgent care.

A warning notice was issued giving details about where improvements were needed and the latest visit in May this year was to check on progress.

Inspectors found the trust had made some improvements particularly around reporting of incidents and staffing levels during busy periods.

A new board has been tackling the issues but the CQC says further progress is still needed.

Although some staff did indicate improvements in the trust’s culture and there was a reduction in bullying and harassment, there still remained concerns about the overall culture.

However staff were found to be consistently compassionate, treating patients and callers with kindness and respect including those in mental health crisis.

CQC chief inspector Ted Baker said: “I am concerned the previous leadership had not fully addressed longstanding cultural issues and in particular the historical problems of bullying and harassment.

“While the problem is now being addressed there is still work to be done here and in the management of medicines.

“It is clear there have been deep rooted problems and the trust would now benefit from a period of stable management to address these issues.

“I am aware there has been a recent appointment of a new chief executive who has considerable experience within the ambulance service and should bring that renewed stability.

“In the circumstances however, I have advised NHS Improvement the trust should continue to receive the additional oversight and support provided by special measures until such time we can report on significant and sustained improvement.”

Secamb chief executive Daren Mochrie said: “While I am disappointed that not enough progress has been made for us to improve our overall rating, I am confident progress is being made and this will continue.

“I believe the pace of improvement has picked up since the CQC visit in May 2017 but I am very aware, as is our senior team, there remains a significant amount of work to be done.

“We are working with our local commissioners to ensure we are funded appropriately and have the right resources to meet demand.”