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People urged to ‘Outrun an Ambulance’ to raise funds for South Central Ambulance Charity

People urged to ‘Outrun an Ambulance’ to raise funds for South Central Ambulance Charity

SCAS WebSite Shoot : (Photo by Nick Guise-Smith / MirrorBoxStudios)South Central Ambulance Charity is urging people to take part in a virtual fundraising challenge to cover more miles than an emergency ambulance does in a single shift – and help support the volunteer Community First Responder and Co-Responder programme.

It follows a successful inaugural ‘Outrun an Ambulance’ event last year where participants raised more than £13,000 for the charity which was put towards keeping some of South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) NHS Foundation Trust’s 1,200 responders equipped.

Volunteer responders are members of the public trained to support the ambulance service primarily by attending medical emergencies and sometimes providing lifesaving first aid to patients before paramedics arrive.

They also assist with ongoing patient care at the scene and attend more than 30,000 incidents every year. They are funded solely by South Central Ambulance Charity, which provides equipment, training and is responsible for the vehicle fleet of 51.

This year the challenge will focus on supporting six regional ambulance charities, with participants able to visit a dedicated website – – and select their area or go direct to their chosen JustGiving page.

In the SCAS patch, people can choose the distance they want to do based on the mileage clocked up by crews during the course of a typical shift across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire (ambulance stations and associated mileages listed online).

Fundraisers can choose their timeframe – up to a maximum of three months – to ‘outrun’ the distance by at least one mile. From Wexham in the South who cover 70 miles in an average shift to Milton Keynes in the North covering 150 miles, there is a range to suite everyone.

People can walk, run, swim, scoot, cycle or ride anything that is self-propelled to achieve their goal and it is designed for all abilities, with the option to take part as an individual or as part of a team.

“Our ambulance staff and volunteers really are going the extra mile every shift of every day to keep us all safe during these challenging times,” said Vanessa Casey, Chief Executive of South Central Ambulance Charity.

“Now we are asking others to help us to again go the extra mile for them and the communities they serve by taking on the ‘Outrun an Ambulance’ challenge.

“Last year we saw a fantastic return of more than £13,000 which was used to support the ongoing costs of our 1,200 volunteer Community First Responder and Co-Responders.

“It costs around £300 per responder per year to keep them equipped with essentials such as smartphone line rentals for the app that deploys CFRs to incidents, batteries for defibrillators to support patients in cardiac arrest and observation kits, as well as our vehicles.”

The Outrun an Ambulance idea was originally conceived by Emergency Care Assistant Shannon Witts from South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust.

While shielding during the pandemic, she and her family rose to the challenge by outrunning the total mileage of three ambulance stations in the Gloucestershire area in aid of the South Western Ambulance Charity.

For more information about the event visit the hyperlinks above.

SCAS Board of Directors – Appointment of new Chair and Non-Executive Director

SCAS Board of Directors – Appointment of new Chair and Non-Executive Director

South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust’s Council of Governors has approved the appointment of Professor Sir Keith Willett CBE as the new Chair of SCAS with effect from 1 April.

He will replace current Chair Lena Samuels who will be leaving SCAS at the end of March to take up the role of Chair of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care System (ICS).

Professor Sir Keith is a highly experienced and respected clinician having worked in the NHS for over 40 years. As Professor of Trauma Surgery at the University of Oxford, he has extensive experience of trauma and emergency care, healthcare management and has been instrumental in driving service transformation, working collaboratively with partners in the NHS and beyond.

He will join SCAS from his role as the National Director for Emergency Planning and Incident Response at NHSE/I. In January 2020, he was appointed as the Strategic Incident Director, responsible for the operational response to the coronavirus pandemic across the whole NHS in England. He also led the Covid Vaccination Deployment programme from July to October 2021.

Professor Sir Keith, who resides in Oxfordshire and has been appointed initially for three years, said: “I am delighted and privileged to be appointed the new Chair of SCAS and build on the outstanding work of Lena Samuels, the Board and everyone in SCAS. I am acutely aware of the enormous contributions and sacrifices made in recent times. SCAS, like all the NHS, is made up of people treating people, so I look forward to working with all of you as we collectively restore ourselves and our services for an exciting future.”

In addition, Dr Henrietta Hughes has been appointed by the Council of Governors as a new Non-Executive Director for SCAS to replace Priya Singh who left at the end of December to take up the role of Chair of Frimley Integrated Care System. Dr Hughes will join SCAS on 1 February.

In 2016, Dr Hughes was appointed as the National Guardian for the NHS and set up Freedom to Speak Up across England into more than 400 NHS and Independent sector organisations. Guardians have handled over 50,000 cases relating to patient safety and worker wellbeing with a view to making speaking up business as usual.

Previously a Medical Director at NHS England, she continues her clinical role as a GP in central London. She has an excellent understanding of the health care landscape and the challenges affecting the NHS.

She said: “I am deeply honoured to be joining SCAS at this important time and would like to send my heartfelt thanks to everyone for the amazing work that you have been doing throughout the Pandemic. I look forward to seeing you soon, learning more about your work and contributing to keeping patients, and those who care for them, safe and well.”

Dr Hughes resides in London and has also been appointed for an initial three-year term.

Ms Samuels said: “It has been an enormous privilege to work for the last five years with CEO Will Hancock, the SCAS Board, Governors and a truly amazing body of professionals who are so passionate about supporting and delivering the best possible care for our patients and their families.

“Our vision and values have always placed the best interests of patients at the very centre of everything we do and for that reason we couldn’t be more delighted with these appointments.”

Mr Hancock said: “I am delighted to welcome both Keith and Henrietta to the SCAS Board. These are outstanding appointments for the Trust and both individuals bring a fabulous breadth of experience and skills which will support SCAS with the delivery of its future strategy and ambitions.”

Statement on Pest Control Management

Statement on Pest Control Management

We would like to address the issue of inaccurate and misleading social media posts circulating regarding pest control management at SCAS.
This specifically relates to a suggestion of pigeon culling supposedly due to take place on one of our sites tomorrow (Thursday, 6 January) which is categorically untrue.
There are no plans for any such activity to take place tomorrow.
Due to a very large increase in the volume of pigeons at the Portsmouth Patient Transport Service base, we have been working closely with experts in bird control and advisory bodies such as Natural England to explore the legal options available to us to reduce the level of fouling and nesting within the station.
The associated health and safety risks posed to our staff are significant, along with the difficulties of ensuring that it does not adversely affect the cleanliness and condition of our patient transport vehicles, though we also take our commitment to the protection of wildlife very seriously too – hence our extensive preparatory work in this area.
These discussions are still ongoing and the process involves a number of possible measures to address the problem. We will be advised by the external experts we are working with as to what steps need to be taken in line with all regulations and guidance.
The option we are considering involves humanely trapping (in cages with space, food and water) and releasing the birds with netting then installed as a preventative measure to stop them returning.
As a result of the misleading social media posts – one of which included a stock image of dead pigeons for “illustration purposes” and is in no way associated with the Trust – our staff have received significant abuse via email and phone calls from members of the public.
This is unacceptable and such activity online is irresponsible given the increase in unnecessary communication it has caused at a time of significant pressure across the Trust.
We are also concerned about threats to protest at our site which could impede our ability to carry out our day-to-day activities for patients. We will not tolerate any form of abuse to our staff under any circumstances and the police have been informed.
We urge everyone to take note of what we have said and cease contacting various staff and the wider organisation about issues which are not true.
It is standard practice for us to ensure ongoing management of pest control in the interests of the health and safety of our staff, patients and visitors. It is not unusual for large organisations to do this.
Anyone with any queries or concerns about the conduct and actions taken by pest control specialists can also enquire directly with the associated regulatory bodies for further information.
SCAS shortlisted for Trust of the Year award for pioneering urgent care initiative

SCAS shortlisted for Trust of the Year award for pioneering urgent care initiative

Fiat ambulanceSouth Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award in recognition of a pioneering initiative that is helping patients receive the right treatment more quickly and avoid unnecessary transfers to emergency departments.

The urgent care pathways project, which was established in 2019, has secured SCAS a place as one of four finalists in the running to be named Ambulance Trust of the Year at the Health Business Awards 2021 which take place tomorrow (Thursday).

It comes just a month after SCAS featured among nine finalists in the Health Service Journal’s Trust of the Year award for its wider contribution to regional, national and global healthcare.

The urgent care initiative sees ambulance service clinicians take a leading role in assessing and treating patients over the phone or in their homes when handling 111 or 999 calls and determining their next destination for ongoing care.

It has led to many patients being treated at home, referred onto their GP, transported to a treatment centre or admitted directly into a specialist hospital service covering medical, surgical, paediatric, respiratory, frailty or mental health needs.

urgent care pathways - SCAS Connect - practitioner inside ambulanceMore than 37,000 patients to-date who would previously have been conveyed to busy emergency departments for further assessment and investigations have had their journeys changed.

In addition to reducing delays accessing care and reducing pressures on emergency departments at the front door of hospitals it has also proved an invaluable asset during the COVID-19 pandemic for managing residents in care homes and avoiding the need for hospital admissions through treatment at home, referral to community services or by-passing emergency departments.

The project focuses on moderately unwell patients with medical conditions, older patients who are frail with chronic conditions who are at risk of falls, those with respiratory conditions such as COPD and asthma, people in mental health crises or children who require a specialist paediatric assessment.

Ambulance staff are supported to assess patients at home and take a lead role in working with GPs and consultants in hospitals to determine a patient’s next steps.

They have also piloted paramedic-led blood testing at the bedside on frail patients which saw 58% avoid hospital admission as a result of more comprehensive assessments in the community.

In addition, an online directory – SCAS Connect – was developed to categorise all of the urgent care options available across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire to assist staff with locating clinical and support services and making the right clinical decision in the community.

In an extension of this work in February SCAS became the first ambulance service in the country to supply COVID-19 patients with home oxygen monitoring kits if they didn’t require immediate admission to hospital but were at higher risk of complications.

In the same month the Trust introduced COVID-19 testing of all 999 patients visited at home – including those without symptoms – if they required transfer to hospital to speed up handovers and release crews more quickly.

Chris Jackson, a specialist paramedic and urgent care pathways lead at SCAS“It is great to receive further national recognition of this project and for it to be the innovation which has secured the Trust the opportunity to be named Ambulance Trust of the Year,” said Chris Jackson (pictured right), a specialist paramedic and urgent care pathways lead at SCAS.

“Ambulance services are positioned perfectly as ‘care navigators’ given the fact our mobile clinicians are dispersed across vast geographies 24/7 and in a unique position to facilitate the most appropriate care for patients.”

He added: “This project is truly changing how we care for patients by enhancing the skills of our paramedics, ensuring patients get the right care as quickly as possible and reducing the burden on emergency departments – and that has never been more important.”

Mark Ainsworth, director of operations at SCAS, said: “This is one of the biggest clinical transformational pieces of work we have ever undertaken and it is leading to the delivery of better care and a more integrated system.

“It is a great achievement for the team behind it to receive this national recognition and fantastic news for all of our staff who continue to deal with significant levels of demand and pressure – positive developments and awareness such as this are vital to morale.”

The Health Business Awards 2021, hosted by Dr Mark Porter, will take place virtually from 1pm tomorrow when winners will be announced in 17 categories including Healthcare IT, Hospital Building, Innovation in Mental Health and the Outstanding Achievement Award.

SCAS plays leading role in The Royal Foundation’s project to support mental health in the emergency services

SCAS plays leading role in The Royal Foundation’s project to support mental health in the emergency services

Will and Chloe videoSouth Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) played a leading role in The Royal Foundation’s Emergency Services Mental Health Symposium held today (Thursday) in London, with The Duke of Cambridge meeting two members of SCAS staff to talk about their experiences as part of a project to help manage mental health on the frontline.

The event saw the launch of a Blue Light Together package of mental health support for the emergency services which has been developed by The Royal Foundation in collaboration with partner organisations.

The Duke of Cambridge met Reading Emergency Care Assistant Chloe Taylor and Bracknell Paramedic Will Parish from SCAS at their home near Reading last week for a conversation which was broadcast to the Symposium audience of 200 leaders from across fire, ambulance, police and search and rescue services.

Will and Chloe shared their experiences of working as emergency responders and the mental health impact it can have, as well as their coping mechanisms and the need for emergency responders to be given the tools and support they need to manage these challenges.

Both stressed the importance of the role played by family members and peers.

Will, who began volunteering with SCAS in 2012 and applied for a full time position in late 2015, said: “A prevalent issue for emergency workers is maintaining your own resilience when faced with distressing and stressful incidents. The importance of peer and family support is key as a support structure and is something I have always relied heavily upon through challenging times.”

Will and ChloeChloe, who worked for British Airways as cabin crew before joining SCAS in 2019, said: “Sometimes I find that difficult emotions can remain long after the patient has left our care and a challenge for emergency workers is learning how to look out for their own mental health, as well as colleagues.

“Everyone is unique and changes can often be subtle. Luckily my colleagues helped me notice and manage my own challenges and, while family and friends may not always fully understand how the job affects our mental health, they play a crucial role in having a positive impact on our mental health and helping us to escape and relieve the pressure that can occur with the job role.”

You can watch the video here which, along with The Duke of Cambridge’s meeting with Will and Chloe, includes a selection of images taken by photographer and SCAS paramedic Emma Williams.

The event marked the first time emergency services representatives from all four nations had come together to address the mental health of their workforces.

The Duke's speech

It included a live panel session involving senior emergency services leaders who talked about their personal experience of mental health, alongside speeches by Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Dame Cressida Dick, Health Secretary Sajid Javid and mental health charity Mind’s CEO Paul Farmer, as well as The Duke of Cambridge.

SCAS Chief Executive Will Hancock attended the Symposium in his capacity as national ambulance service lead for mental health for the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE).

He said: “The Royal Foundation’s Symposium today, as well as its wider Blue Light Together package of support, marks a really important milestone in the development of better mental health support for ambulance staff and our emergency services partners.​​​​​​​

“In the ambulance service specifically we want to continue encouraging more open and honest conversations about mental health is as well as focusing on preventing suicides within the workforce and initiatives like this are essential in raising awareness and offering solutions.”

Discussing the Blue Light Together package, The Duke of Cambridge said: “This is an unprecedented agreement and it sends a powerful message to all emergency responders that mental health is, and will remain, a firm priority for the UK’s emergency services.

“It means that, for the first time, a uniform set of standards for supporting the mental health of emergency responders will be adopted and integrated into their workplaces. This is a crucial step in ensuring that the staff and volunteers who work so tirelessly for our nation can be properly protected.”

The full recording is available on The Royal Foundation YouTube channel. For more information on the Blue Light Together package visit

25 November 2021

Statement on Pest Control Management

New Booking Rules for Patient Transport Users

SCAS Patient Transport Service (PTS)

New Booking Window from Monday 15th November 2021

South Central Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust and the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) have agreed new booking cut-off times for PTS outpatient journeys.

These changes affect outpatient journeys in all the areas where we provide NHS patient transport services: Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Surrey and Sussex

  • Telephone bookings
    Maximum of 10 working days and minimum of 2 working days prior to the outpatient appointment
  • Online bookings
    Maximum of 20 working days and minimum of 2 working days prior to the outpatient appointment
Your appointment date Latest time to request transport
Monday Previous Thursday by 15:00
Tuesday Previous Friday by 15:00
Wednesday Monday by 15:00
Thursday Tuesday by 15:00
Friday Wednesday by 15:00
Saturday Thursday by 15:00
Sunday Thursday by 15:00
PTS mask

If an appointment has been given at the last minute and is considered urgent then consideration will be given to later bookings


Why are we making this change?

  • To help us support all patient groups including routine outpatients, regular essential appointments and hospital discharges.
  • To allow more time to manage capacity challenges for outpatient activity.
  • To enable greater flexibility to manage pre-planned hospital discharges, allowing more hospital discharges in the morning and avoiding cancellations in the evening.