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999 service hits all response time targets over Christmas and New Year 2019/20

999 service hits all response time targets over Christmas and New Year 2019/20

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of all its staff and volunteers working over the busy Christmas and New Year period, South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) is delighted to announce that it met all its national response time targets in the two-week period from ‘Black Friday’, 20 December 2019 to 2 January, 2020.

This means that all patient emergencies received by SCAS’ clinical co-ordination centres in Bicester, Oxfordshire, and Otterbourne, Hampshire – whether triaged as a Category 1 life-threatening emergency or a Category 4 less urgent emergency – received an ambulance response within the timescales set out by NHS England that all ambulance services are measured by.

Mark Ainsworth, Director of Operations at South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“The Christmas and New Year fortnight is an exceptionally busy time for all emergency services and I’m delighted that we were able to continue to deliver excellent clinical care both in person and over the phone, and a responsive and appropriate service to all those patients who called 999 during these two weeks.

As well as passing on my gratitude to our staff working in our clinical co-ordination centres and on the road, we also received fantastic support right across the South Central area from our volunteer community first responders and co-responders from local fire and rescue services, police services and military personnel.”

Will Hancock, Chief Executive at South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, added:

“I’d like to thank all our staff and volunteers for working so hard all year round, and particularly over the Christmas and New Year season when they are away from their families. Despite an increase in demand for our 999 service compared to 12 months ago, the dedication, professionalism and commitment over the last two weeks has delivered these fantastic results at the busiest time of the year.

I would also like to thank members of the public across our region for continuing to use NHS 111, urgent treatment centres, their local GP surgery and pharmacies for minor injuries and illnesses. This really helps ensure that we can respond quickly to the most serious and life-threatening emergencies via our 999 service whenever and wherever they happen in our region.”

Winter Woollies Appeal for Oxford’s homeless

Winter Woollies Appeal for Oxford’s homeless

Susan Baker, a Paramedic, and her husband Pete, a Technician, who are both based at South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust’s (SCAS) Didcot Resource Centre, have again organised a Winter Woollies Appeal for the homeless of Oxford this year following the success of their first appeal in 2018.

“Pete and I started the appeal in 2018 due to the increase in homelessness and the high number of homeless deaths throughout the country”, said Susan. “Whilst we are out doing our job we encounter many homeless people sleeping rough in shop doorways or in alleyways and it is so heart breaking that we felt we could no longer sit back and do nothing.”

Thanks to the generosity of SCAS staff across Oxfordshire, along with support from Boots in Wantage, Cancer Research in Wantage and Didcot pet shops, last Thursday (5 December), Susan and Pete, along with Team Leader, Kate Ellis, and Clinical Operations Manager, Craig Heigold, took two ambulances packed full of winter clothing, sleeping bags, boots, toiletries and pet foods out in Oxford city centre to ensure that all the donations went directly to the people who really need them.

Over the course of just a couple of hours, the team found around 20 homeless people in Oxford centre, all of whom were extremely grateful for the additional clothing, bedding and other items.

The remaining donations were all dropped off at two emergency shelters in the city centre which, due to the cold temperatures were opening their doors to more of Oxford’s homeless, ensuing that every item donated went directly to those who need them.

Susan added: “The people we met on the street have nothing, yet their community spirit is humbling, their thanks heartfelt and after our visit last Thursday, they are just a little bit warmer. I would like to thank all of mine and Pete’s colleagues in SCAS for their donations and help in making this year’s appeal happen, to the local charities and shops that supported us, to SCAS for giving us the two ambulances to use and to Kate and Craig for their help on the night too. It’s an amazing cause and we really appreciate all your support.”


NHS England funding secured for SOS Service

NHS England funding secured for SOS Service

Thanks to funding provided by NHS England, the Oxford SOS Service – operated by South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) – returns to the city centre this weekend to help NHS and other emergency services cope with the peak winter demand.

The SOS Service was praised earlier this year by Healthwatch Oxfordshire for providing faster, more efficient and more cost-effective treatment to people using Oxfordshire’s Night Time Economy. The funding that SCAS Clinical Operations Manager and Oxford SOS Service Project Lead, Craig Heigold, has secured from NHS England will ensure that the service can operate for an additional extra month than in previous years.

Craig said: “We know that at this time of year, the SOS Service is always highly valued not just by our own ambulance service, but also by our colleagues at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Thames Valley Police. When all the emergency services are under the most pressure over the winter period, the SOS Service helps ensure that there are more of our ambulances available, that there are less people at A&E on busy weekend nights and that our police colleagues are not unnecessarily tied up dealing with medical incidents in the city centre.”

The SOS service will be operating from a dedicated Jumbulance vehicle (large ambulance) every Friday and Saturday night (10:45pm to 5:15am) from Friday 6 December to Sunday 2 February (5:15am) based at Bonn Square.

An additional service will also run on New Year’s Eve.

Last winter during a shorter phase of operation from its Cornmarket base, 54 patients presented themselves at the SOS Service for treatment. Of these, only 16 required further treatment and/or assessment at the John Radcliffe Hospital; meaning that the SOS Team was able to deal with over two-thirds of those patients at the scene who might otherwise have gone to A&E or called 999.

Craig Heigold, Oxford SOS Project Lead, added:

“Although I’m very grateful that NHS England have provided the funding for the SOS Service this winter as part of its Alcohol Intoxication Management Services, our data shows that half of the patients who come to see us do so as a result of an injury from a fall or an assault, or for other medical reasons.

“The SOS Service is not just something available to people who are intoxicated through drink or drugs. I would therefore urge anyone who feels unwell or suffers an injury whilst on a night out in Oxford to come and see us at Bonn Square. By doing so, you would really be helping local NHS services by not calling 999 or making your own way to A&E.”


Interviews available by arrangement with Craig Heigold at Oxford City Ambulance Station.

Visits to the SOS Service in operation also welcome by prior arrangement.


  • The SOS Service is located in Bonn Square and is available every Friday and Saturday night from 22.45 to 05.15. The service operates from a dedicated larger than normal ambulance, and every operational shift will be run by a team of two SCAS paramedics, along with an emergency care assistant or associate ambulance practitioner, as well as the valuable support from local community first responders.
  • Launched in November 2014, the SOS Service is highly valued by SCAS, Oxford Street Pastors, Thames Valley Police and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust because it provides additional medical provision in the city centre which reduces 999 responses and A&E presentations for alcohol related incidents.
Free flu vaccinations for patients with long term conditions

Free flu vaccinations for patients with long term conditions

Patients living with a long term condition such as diabetes, asthma or a heart condition are urged to have a free NHS flu vaccination to keep them well this winter.

These patients – including children and adults – are more at risk of the complications of flu which could result in a stay in hospital or even death.

Dr Ed Capo-Bianco, Urgent Care Lead at Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It’s very important that patients who have an underlying health condition don’t delay and have a free flu vaccination at their GP practice or a pharmacist.”

Ed said: “Healthy individuals usually recover within two to seven days from flu, but for some, especially those with a long term condition the illness can lead to a stay in hospital, permanent disability or even death.”

You are eligible for the free flu vaccine if you have the following conditions:

  • heart problem
  • chest complaint or breathing difficulties, including bronchitis, emphysema or severe asthma
  • kidney disease
  • lowered immunity due to disease or treatment (such as steroid medication or cancer treatment)
  • liver disease
  • stroke or a transient ischaemic attack (TIA)
  • diabetes
  • neurological condition e.g. multiple sclerosis
  • morbid obesity (BMI over 40)
  • cerebral palsy or a learning disability.

You can watch a short video of an Oxfordshire patient who has diabetes, urging eligible people to have a free NHS flu vaccination – see here:

Who else is eligible for an NHS flu vaccination?
People aged over 65, pregnant women, children in primary school and youngsters aged 2 and 3 years old.

For more information on the NHS flu vaccination visit

AMBIES sponsors get ready for 2019 event

AMBIES sponsors get ready for 2019 event

The Ambies is the Trust’s flagship staff recognition event, which has been running for over 10 years. It is a key part of the Trust’s staff reward and recognition programme.

Staff who have gone ‘above and beyond’ in their job, and have embraced SCAS’s four key values of Teamwork, Innovation, Professionalism and Caring, are nominated for awards by their peers, colleagues, stakeholders and members of the public. A panel selects the winners and runners up in each category.

This years event takes place at the Red Bull Racing headquarters in Milton Keynes on 29 November 2019.

We couldn’t recognise our fantastic staff in this way without the generous support of our fantastic sponsors:

J Tomlinson specialise in delivering tailored maintenance, construction, and refurbishment services to both private and public sector clients, including the Emergency Services, Extra Care, Healthcare, Education, Commercial, Industrial, Hotel, Leisure and Student Accommodation. As a business we live and breathe our vision and values, placing our people, our customers and the communities we work in at the heart of everything we do.

We’re proud to sponsor the 999 Person of the Year Award at this year’s Ambies. Wishing the very best of luck to all nominees on the evening

Hexagon’s work with SCAS has allowed us to see first-hand what great people work there, both
on the frontline and in support roles. Hexagon is delighted to take the opportunity of the Ambies to recognise those people and the outstanding work that they do. Hexagon share a passion with SCAS for using innovation and technology to deliver better outcomes for patients while helping SCAS operate as efficiently as possible.

We are very pleased to be sponsoring the Clinical Coordination Centre (CCC) 999 Person of the Year Award this year.

Liaison Onecall is part of the Liaison FS Group and has been involved with the establishment of the Computer Benefit Programme which kick started the very first Trust Home Technology Benefit Programme in 2001 under the governments Home Computer Initiative. Liaison Onecall specialise in running

Home Technology and now Holiday salary sacrifice programmes for the public sector in particular NHS Trusts and Health Boards.

We are delighted to be invited to support the SCAS People’s Pride Award. It’s a real honour to be part of this very special event and good luck to all those nominated, and we hope everyone has a fantastic night.

As the UK’s leading provider of Occupational Health to the NHS, Team Prevent is proud to have supported the Occupational Health and Well Being for SCAS employees for over nine years.

We are delighted to be sponsoring the Ambies

Special Recognition Award for a Healthier Lifestyle. Good luck to the nominees and we hope everyone has a fantastic evening.

Terrafix is the proud supplier of the South

Central Ambulance Service A&E Mobile Data and Communication System. Supplying mission critical ICT solutions to assist the UK Emergency Services in delivering a reliable and effective response to emergency incidents.

Terrafix is proud to support two awards, Team of the Year and Support Person of the Year, and wishes everyone good luck for this year’s awards.

Zoll Medical develops and markets medical devices and software solutions that help advance emergency care and save lives, while increasing clinical and operational efficiencies. With products for defibrillation and monitoring, circulation and CPR feedback, data management, therapeutic temperature management, and ventilation, Zoll provides a comprehensive set of technologies that help clinicians, EMS and fire professionals, and lay rescuers treat victims needing resuscitation and acute critical care.

We are proud to be supporting the SCAS Educator of the Year Award at this year’s Ambies.

Staff are the best shot at stopping flu

Staff are the best shot at stopping flu

Health and social care organisations across Oxfordshire have joined together to call on healthcare professionals to make sure they are immunised against flu this winter.

South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS), Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have all embarked on their annual flu programmes – vaccinating the thousands of workers who look after you, your family and friends.

By vaccinating frontline staff, each organisation can stop people from catching the virus and passing it on to the sick and vulnerable. It also means health and social care organisations can be more resilient during the coming busy winter months.

Healthcare workers in hospitals and out in the community are eligible for free quadrivalent jabs – which contain four strains of flu to provide maximum cover.

Oxford Health provides physical, mental health and social care for people of all ages across Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Wiltshire and Bath and North East Somerset and aims to vaccinate more than 5,000 of its frontline workforce.

For a second year staff and patients at Oxford Health have collaborated to produce a video encouraging every staff member to take part in the immunisation programme.

The Grease-themed ‘It’s the jab that I want’ film stars, among others, Chief Nurse Marie Crofts who is leading the Oxford Health campaign and staff from Witney Community Hospital.

There are also appearances from many other workers from the Trust’s 150 sites and cameo appearances from SCAS staff, who have bases in community hospitals. Watch it here

SCAS, the ambulance service for Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Hampshire, and Oxfordshire County Council – with its army of social workers in communities and hospitals – are also working to increase vaccination rates.

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is also vaccinating their frontline staff to protect patients and their families.

With an array of posters and myth busting messages, all partner organisations are holding staff flu clinics and are working hard to help staff understand the importance of getting vaccinated to protect themselves and their patients.

  • Flu is a serious health risk – it’s highly transmissible and is not a bad cold
  • The quadrivalent jab does not contain a live virus and will not give you flu.
  • You can be a carrier of flu without displaying symptoms.

Last year, flu killed 312 Britons*, while a total of 2,924 people in the UK were admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) or high-dependency unit (HDU) because of flu. Most had not been immunised according to Public Health England.

Professor Helen Young, Executive Director of Patient Care and Service Transformation at SCAS, said: “Every year, SCAS focuses significant time and resources making it as easy as possible for staff to get their flu jabs.

“Our emergency 999 and patient transport service staff interact with some very unwell patients and those with serious medical conditions, so the vaccine is crucial to protect such patients from the life-threatening complications flu can bring, and minimise the risk of staff unwittingly passing on the flu bug to them.

“By having their flu jab, our staff are demonstrating their commitment to ensure our 999, NHS 111 and patient transport service can be operated as efficiently and effectively as possible during the peak period of winter demand.”

Marie Crofts, Chief Nurse at Oxford Health, said: “With fresh arrivals of the vaccine we have started our special clinics and drop-in sessions for frontline staff. We work in a caring profession, so let’s all make sure we have a jab – and look after each other as well as our patients, friends and family.”

Karen Fuller, Deputy Director of Adult Social Care at Oxfordshire County Council, said: “The health and wellbeing of our staff is a priority. By encouraging frontline staff to have flu vaccinations we can ensure they are immunised as part of our winter preparation. This will support the health and social care system and also reduce the risk of passing the virus onto the people we support, which is essential. The council’s commitment to working with system partners as part of this campaign protects our staff and supports them to stay well throughout the winter months.”

Sam Foster, Chief Nursing Officer at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “By vaccinating frontline staff, each organisation can stop people from catching the virus from patients and passing it onto the other patients or their own family members.

“It also means health and social care organisations can be more resilient in terms of reducing the risk of staff being absent due to being off sick with the flu during the coming busy winter months.”