Reigate MP Crispin Blunt met paramedics at Redhill ambulance station and saw 999 teams go into action on a visit to meet frontline emergency staff.

The MP visited South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Trust (SECAmb) for an insight into the workings a modern ambulance service He learnt about the trust’s vision for patients across the region, its journey to foundation trust status, and met operational staff in Redhill and Banstead.

After meeting SECAmb’s chief executive, Paul Sutton, and chairman, Martin Kitchen, Mr Blunt visited the trust's Emergency Dispatch Centre in Banstead, experiencing how 999 calls are dealt with, and saw ambulances being sent to attend incidents.

He then chatted with paramedics at Redhill ambulance station, to get an idea of the issues facing clinicians on the frontline.

SECAmb paramedic and clinical team leader for Redhill ambulance station, David Wright, said: “It was good to be meet Mr Blunt and to discuss the issues and challenges facing frontline staff in his constituency.”

Mr Blunt said: “I was impressed with the work of South East Coast Ambulance Service, both in regard to the technological and clinical innovations being developed, and the commitment of the frontline staff.

“I was delighted to be able to meet the dedicated staff and have the opportunity to look at the new vehicles and equipment that are saving lives across the region.”

SECAmb has just completed a 12-week public and staff consultation about its plans to become a foundation trust, which is a new type of NHS trust.

Foundation trusts still provide free care for patients, have to meet national targets, and are regularly inspected, but they have greater freedom from central government control, and are better able to act swiftly on the views of local people and respond to local need.

SECAmb was formed in July 2006, following the merger of Kent, Surrey and Sussex ambulance trusts, and is one of 11 ambulance services operating in England.

It covers an area of 3,600 square miles and a resident population of 4.5 million across East and West Sussex, Brighton and Hove, Kent and Medway and Surrey.

The trust responds to 999 calls from the public, immediate and urgent calls from health professionals, as well as providing non-emergency patient transport services - pre-booked patient journeys to and from healthcare facilities - in some areas.

The trust employs more than 3,000 staff across 60 sites - more than half of them paramedics and ambulance technicians.