Agenda item

Report of the South Western Ambulance Trust, attached


(Councillors Randall Johnson, R Chesterton, S Parker-Khan and R Peart declared a non-pecuniary interest by virtue of their membership of the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority).


The Committee considered a report of the South Western Ambulance Service Trust on recent performance using National Ambulance Quality Indicator data, factors impacting on performance and demand in Devon, abstraction rates, handover delays at acute hospitals, the Trust’s response to the pandemic,  work with fire and rescue services, and a community first responder update.


Member discussion points with the Executive Director and Devon County Commander (both SWAST) included:


·         an update by the Executive Director on recent activity in October and  the increasing demand pressures (with data evidence) and since the Critical Incident announcement on 14 June 2021 the continuation of the highest alert level ‘Black’ in common with Ambulance Trusts nationally;

·         the high levels of hours lost to delays in transfers at the acute hospitals in wider Devon and the impact on the service and personnel and their health and wellbeing;

·         the additional recruitment of staff across call handling, graduate trainees and continued working with Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service (to September 2022) to help mitigate demand pressures (on which further information would be provided in regard to assistance provided by the Fire and Rescue Service);

·         differential demand impacts and pressures resulting from demography (elderly frail population), the pandemic and impact on mental health, and 111 referrals;

·         the development of a pilot project with Mental Health input in call-centres which, if successful, could be rolled-out across the Trust area; 

·         operation by SWAST of the Tiverton Urgent Care Centre (commissioned by the Clinical Commissioning Group) a GP led model which was operating effectively with good staffing, and reducing the conveyance rate to acute settings and where Ambulances would also discharge patients when appropriate, with a positive patient experience (with 1815 patients in October, 59/day) and thereby mitigating pressures in acute settings and which had remained open during the pandemic;

·         the valued work of co-responders, St John’s Ambulance and other partners to support the Service and commissioning by the CCG of vehicles for lower acuity patients;  

·         the clear rules relating to waiting times both for SWAST and the Acute hospitals and the work of Acute hospital liaison personnel in managing the delays of transfers and the impact on patient wellbeing and the associated sharing of Clinical Quality information with commissioners; and

·         the role of the Service as a key partner within the Devon Integrated Care System (ICS) and the complex management relations and planning with all the seven ICS organisations across the SWAST footprint covering the wider south west region. 


The Chair thanked the SWAST Officers for their very informative presentation and response to member questions.  

It was MOVED by Councillor J Bailey, and SECONDED by Councillor M Wrigley and


RESOLVED that a Spotlight Review be undertaken to include reference to delays in transfers, response times, impact on patients and personnel, role of 111; and work with key partners within the Devon Integrated Care System.  

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