Fringe Box



Air Ambulance Wins Sky-High Honour From Care Commission

Published on: 25 Mar, 2020
Updated on: 25 Mar, 2020

A casualty being evacuated after a road accident in Shalford.

Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex (KSS) has landed a first, the only helicopter emergency medical service to achieve the top rating in all categories/key lines of enquiry by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). 

Inspectors rated KSS, a registered charity since 2011, as outstanding for being safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led, the five key areas which form the framework of the inspection. This is also the first time regulations have allowed the CQC to give a rating.

The CQC report highlights the service’s strong leadership, thoroughly patient-focused team, open culture to reporting all types of incidents, highly-motivated staff and strong, comprehensive systems and processes.

The inspectors praised KSS’s engagement with its partners including local NHS trusts and the Ministry of Defence. They also focused on KSS’s commitment to the local community as “integral to how services were planned and ensured services met the needs of local people and the communities served”.

They were impressed by KSS’s continual focus on the “safe use of innovative and pioneering approaches to care”. This included the service’s research into new methods of treatments and innovative ways to make patient information more easily available to all staff providing care to deliver more efficient and cohesive treatment and care of patients.

David Welch, chief executive of KSS, said: “Receiving an outstanding rating from the CQC across the board is testament to the dedication and commitment of our exceptional team, who work tirelessly to ensure the right treatments and best possible outcomes for our patients.

“My sincere thanks go to every single member of Team KSS, staff, volunteers, partners and stakeholders,- all of whom have contributed to this amazing achievement.

“I am incredibly proud and privileged to lead our outstanding team who show an exceptional commitment to our patients. Our health service is now faced with an unprecedented challenge and we are exploring new ways we can best deploy our experience, expertise and resources to support the NHS and the wider community at such a critical time.”

Dr Helen Bowcock, chair of the board of trustees, added: “We congratulate our teams for receiving so many commendations including on our open and collaborative culture, our holistic approach to care and the cohesion throughout our organisation.

“We were honoured to receive a visit from HRH The Princess Royal in February to mark our thirtieth  anniversary and now have the honour of being rated Outstanding by the CQC.”

Operating out of Redhill aerodrome and headquartered in Rochester, KSS provides world-leading pre-hospital emergency care covering Kent, Surrey and Sussex and serving a population of 4.8 million.

Its crews of pilots, doctors and paramedics fly more than 2,500 missions a year, and it was the first, and only, UK air ambulance to operate its helicopters 24/7.  Of the more than £14m needed to sustain the service each year, 89% comes from public donation and fundraising.

For further information about Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex, visit or @airambulancekss.

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