South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) is continuing to experience “significant IT system issues”, but after declaring a critical incident overnight, which resulted in the loss of its Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system, the impact is now less severe.

The NHS Foundation Trust, which is responsible for covering Brighton and Hove, East Sussex, West Sussex, Kent, Surrey, and North East Hampshire, confirmed that the issues had caused it to move to back-up telephone systems.

SECAmb continued to answer calls and respond to patients through the night but urged people to only call 999 in the event of a “serious emergency” and to make use of services including NHS 111 Online for help and advice.

It also assured the public that it was doing everything it could to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

Following the initial statement on the trust’s website yesterday (Thursday 10 November) at 9pm, an updated statement was provided this morning at 10am.

Emma Williams, executive director of operations at SECAmb, said: “We continue to experience significant IT system issues, which are affecting our Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD), and which are preventing our systems from working fully.

“We are pleased that this morning, (Friday 11 November) we have been able to move back onto our CAD, operating it as a standalone system at our East Emergency Operations Centre in Coxheath, Kent. We are continuing to work closely with our IT providers on fully resolving the issues.

“I would like to thank all our staff and volunteers who have been working so incredibly hard to manage the impact of this, while also trying to resolve the issues as quickly as possible.”

The trust also announced that the incident will be managed as an internal Business Continuity Incident (BCI) rather than a critical one and reminded the public to only call 999 if it is a “serious emergency”. It has yet to release any information on the cause of the IT issues.

Williams added: “In light of the fact we have been able to return to the use of our CAD in a limited form, going forward, the incident will be managed as an internal Business Continuity Incident (BCI).

“We would like to thank the public for their ongoing support and urge them to continue to help us manage the demand placed upon us by only calling 999 in the event of a serious emergency.”

This is not the first time that SECAmb have declared a critical incident. At around the same time in November 2021, the trust confirmed it had experienced a “significant IT issue overnight” before later confirming that its IT systems were now “functioning fully”.