About us

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South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) works to provide ambulance services to the people of the south-west of England in a way that is supportive of the NHS Constitution and upholds best practice. It was the first ambulance service to be authorised as an NHS Foundation Trust on 1 March 2011.

In February 2013 it acquired neighbouring Great Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust (GWAS). In its enlarged form it has responsibility for the provision of ambulance services across an area of 10,000 square miles which is 20% of mainland England. The enlarged Trust covers the counties of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and the former Avon area (Bristol, Bath, North and North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire).

The Trust serves a total population of over 5.3 million and is estimated to receive an influx of over 17.5 million visitors each year. The operational area is predominantly rural but also includes large urban centres including Bristol, Plymouth, Exeter, Bath, Swindon, Gloucester, Bournemouth and Poole.

The Trust is a high-quality, effective and efficient NHS organisation and the primary provider of 999 ambulance services across its operational area. The Trust’s core operations include the following service lines:

  • Emergency ambulance 999 services (A&E);
  • Urgent Care Services (UCS) – GP out-of-hours medical care (Dorset, Gloucestershire and Somerset);
  • Patient Transport Services (PTS) – non-emergency transport for eligible patients with a medical need for transport;
  • NHS 111 call-handling and triage services for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Dorset and Somerset.

The last of these service lines represents a service development for the Trust during 2012-13.

The Trust is registered with the quality regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Its current registration status is ‘compliant without conditions’. This means the Trust has received external assurance of its commitment to providing high quality care for patients.

A routine inspection of Trust services was undertaken in January 2013. The following standards were assessed:

  • Respecting and involving people who use services;
  • Care and welfare of people who use services;
  • Safeguarding people who use services from abuse;
  • Supporting workers;
  • Assessing and monitoring the quality of service provision.

The Trust was assessed as meeting all five standards.

To support the delivery of its activities the Trust has a diverse fleet of over 1,000 vehicles
including:

  • Emergency ambulance 999 service (A&E) frontline vehicles;
  • Rapid-response vehicles including Urgent Care Services (UCS) cars;
  • Patient Transport Service (PTS) vehicles;
  • Motorcycles and bicycles;
  • A boat (used across the Isles of Scilly);
  • Specialist vehicles for the Trust’s two Hazardous Area Response Teams (HART);
  • Medical cleaning units.

The Trust provides the clinical teams for six air ambulances (two in Devon, one in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, one shared across Dorset and Somerset, one in Wiltshire and one based near Bristol).

The Trust’s four 999 control rooms (clinical hubs) are in St Leonards, Exeter, Bristol and Gloucester.

We employ over 4,000 mainly clinical and operational staff (including Paramedics, Emergency Care Practitioners, Advanced Technicians, Ambulance Care Assistants and Nurse Practitioners) plus GPs and around 2,785 volunteers (including community first responders, BASICS doctors, fire co-responders and volunteer PTS drivers).

If you would like to take a look at the area covered by South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, which also shows all of the ambulance stations in the SWASFT area please click on the following PDF: SWASFT area

The Trust has a mission to respond quickly and safely to save lives, reduce anxiety, pain and suffering. More information on the Trust vision, goals and objectives can be found here.


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