South Western Ambulance Service
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.
|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|
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.
- Emergency ambulance 999 services
- Urgent Care Services (UCS) – GP out-of-hours medical care (Dorset)
- NHS 111 call-handling and triage services (Dorset)
- Tiverton Urgent Care Centre.
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.
Facts and figures
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.
Divisions and stations
The trust is split into three divisions:
- West Division: covering Devon and Cornwall, including its Headquarters at Exeter
- East Division: covering Somerset and Dorset
- North Division: consisting of the footprint of the former Great Western Ambulance Service
The trust has 96 ambulance stations among the counties that it serves:
- 306 emergency ambulances
- 57 patient transport ambulances
- 234 rapid response vehicles
- 7 rapid response motorcycles
- 5 bicycles
- 2 hazardous area response teams (based in Exeter and Bristol)
- 1 boat – ALN 043 'Star of Life' Wave Saver 1000 Class ambulance boat
NHS 111 service
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.
Tiverton Urgent Care Centre
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.
- "South Western Ambulance Service – Annual Report and Accounts" (PDF). South Western Ambulance Service. Retrieved 30 July 2017.
- "What we do". South Western Ambulance Service. Retrieved 6 July 2014.
- "Single trust formed after South West ambulance merger". BBC. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
- "About Us". South Western Ambulance Trust. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
- "Chief Executive – Ken Wenman". South Western Ambulance Service. Retrieved 30 July 2017.
- "South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust". NHS Choices. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
- "Inspection Report" (PDF). Care Quality Commission. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
- "Evaluating the effectiveness of having GPs in the 999 Clinical Hubs (Exeter and Bristol)" (PDF). South Western Ambulance Service. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
- "South Western Ambulance Service" (PDF). South Western Ambulance Service. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
- "Welcome to SWASFT - Accident and Emergency". www.swast.nhs.uk. Retrieved 16 October 2019.
- "South Western Ambulance Service". Ambulance Research. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
- "CQC warns South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust about safety of NHS 111 service". Care Quality Commission. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
- "South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust Quality Report 2016" (PDF). Care Quality Commission. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
- "Ambulance trusts demand millions to meet new targets". Health Service Journal. 4 May 2018. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
- "SWASFT Annual Report" (PDF).
- "Ambulance service gives up 111 contract". BBC News: England. 11 July 2019. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
- "Tiverton Urgent Care Centre". swast.nhs.uk. Retrieved 11 October 2016.