THE ambulance service has been taken out of special measures after a watchdog report.

Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors made the recommendation to NHS chiefs about the South East Coast Ambulance Service Trust (Secamb).

The trust, which has its headquarters in Crawley, responds to emergencies for patients in Brighton and Hove, Sussex, Kent and Surrey.

CQC inspectors visited sites in June and July to check how the trust responded to emergencies.

The ambulance service was rated as ‘good’ overall.

It follows a previous inspection where the service was told it required improvement in November last year.

The trust has been battling to improve after it was put into special measures and rated “inadequate” three years ago.

That rating from the CQC was made amid accusations of a culture of bullying and harassment at the trust.

But England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Ted Baker, said the trust has been monitored closely and praised the service for its improvement.

He said: “Secamb has made excellent progress.

“The trust has embedded the improvements our inspectors saw at our last inspection in November 2018 and has also met the requirements we asked for.”

The CQC report published today found that emergency and urgent care is now “outstanding”, with paramedics showing compassion and kindness, and “going the extra mile” to help patients.

Inspectors also found the trust has improved its monitoring of elderly fall victims.

Staff now have the confidence to challenge bullying behaviour, the report stated.

Prof Baker added: “The credit must go to the hard work and commitment of the staff and the current leadership team.

“I congratulate them on their achievements. I am happy to recommend that it is removed from special measures.”

The trust’s acting chief executive Dr Fionna Moore said: “I would like to thank everyone at SECAmb for the dedication and commitment they show, day-in, day-out and hope they take a moment to celebrate how much we have achieved.

“I am very aware that there remains work to be done to ensure we meet the high standards rightly expected. I am, however, very confident that we are on the right path to deliver further progress.”