Earlier this year, the Care Quality Commission issued a warning notice, after inspectors found a host of failings, including continued delays responding to 111 calls and failings in oversight of the trust.The trust is now expected to be put into special measures, following the publication of a damning inspection report by the watchdog. It comes amid speculation that the trust could merge with neighbouring South Central Ambulance Service. Paul Sutton resigned as chief executive of South East Coast Ambulance Service trust in May following the scandal A scandal-hit ambulance trust which deliberately delayed thousands of 111 calls is to be put into “special measures” over a damning inspection report.South East Coast Ambulance Service (Secamb) has been under scrutiny following a Telegraph investigation which revealed that up to 20,000 patients were subject to delays under a covert operation.The policy, introduced by the trust’s then chief executive, meant patients – including those which classed as life-threatening – were left to wait up to twice as long if their call was referred via the helpline. Under NHS rules, calls designated as “life-threatening” are supposed to receive an ambulance response within eight minutes – regardless of whether the caller dials 999 or the non-emergency 111 line.But the ambulance trust, which covers Sussex, Kent, Surrey and North East Hampshire, unilaterally invented its own system to “stop the clock” and routinely downgrade 111 calls.In May, the trust’s chief executive Paul Sutton was forced to quit over the scandal. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.