NHS Improvement is placing the South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust into Special Measures on the back of a series of concerns that came to light in its latest Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection report.

The trust, which provides 999 and ambulance services to people across Kent, Surrey and Sussex, was rated by the CQC as 'inadequate' because of issues with its urgent and emergency care, safety and leadership.

The inspection identified problems in relation to patient safeguarding, risk management and the systems in place to ensure patient safety, effective leadership and staff culture.

NHS Improvement has already been supporting the trust in a number of areas and will now appoint an Improvement Director who will offer extra advice and support to help raise the standard of care, while South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust will provide buddying support with practical advice and mentoring.

"We know that more people than ever are requiring urgent or emergency care this year and that the demand is challenging trusts across England," noted Anne Eden, Executive Regional Managing Director for the South at NHS Improvement.

"However, the serious concerns about care at South East Coast Ambulance Service need to be addressed quickly, which is why we are putting the trust in special measures."