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999 service has ‘serious failings’

THE ambulance service covering Kent has been issued with safety warnings over its operations, by health regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The inspectorate told South East

Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) to put things right by September 10. It will publish a full report of its findings in the near future. SECAmb apologised for serious failings, saying it was already working hard to address the issues raised by the CQC following its in- spection in May, and would con- tinue to do so over the coming months. Six areas of concern were high- lighted by the CQC, including that NHS 111 calls were not always re- sponded to on time and in an ef- fective manner. Maintenance of equipment, sys-

tems to ensure there were enough staff and arrangements to assess, monitor and improve the quality and safety of services were also criticised by the CQC. Mike Richards, CQC’s chief in-

spector of hospitals, said: “People who rely on South East Coast Am- bulance Service NHS Foundation Trust are entitled to an ambulance service that is consistently safe, ef- fective and responsive to their needs. “On the evidence of our inspec-

tion, we have found that patients were not receiving the quality of care that they are entitled to ex- pect, or within timescales re- quired. “We have told the trust that it

must improve and treat patients in a timely manner with care, dignity and respect. We will continue to monitor the trust closely, and will be returning in the near future to check that it has taken appropriate action to address these immediate issues.” Geraint Davies, the trust’s acting

chief executive, said: “We know there is a lot the trust needs to do to improve compliance with a number of systems and processes to ensure the safety of our pa- tients.”

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20 Malling August 2016 Diner staff clean up river

STAFF from McDonald's in Maidstone have been doing their bit to spruce up the town centre’s riverside. Around 20 volunteers from three branches took in the Love Where You

Live scheme, cleaning and clearing the towpaths from Lockmeadow Mil- lennium Bridge. The eventwas organised by the Maidstone River Park Partnership, a new community group dedicated to improving and promoting the Maidstone's greatest natural asset. It was supported by Maidstone Borough Council and the Medway Valley Countryside Partnership. Ali El Hajj, who owns the three Maidstone McDonald's franchises, said:

"We are delighted to be part of this and my staff really enjoyed getting stuck in and making a difference to the local community. "The path outside the Archbishops Palace looks so much better. By cut-

ting back and clearing trees, it has opened up a lovely view of the river and the Millennium Bridge. We're proud of what we've done in a short space of time." Ian Tucker, from the River Park Partnership, added: "A big thank you to McDonald's, Maidstone Council and the Medway Valley Countryside Part- nership for all their help. People walking along the riverside were saying howmuch better it looked and that's what we wanted to achieve."


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