Sussex patient ‘did not die’ waiting for transport

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Health bosses have confirmed that following an investigation ‘no patient died’ whilst waiting for patient transport yesterday (April 6) – contrary to reports.

A spokesman for Sussex Clinical Commissioning Groups said: “The log of calls regarding this patient confirms that there was an initial delay in transport arriving, that the transport was re-booked for later but subsequently cancelled as the patient’s destination could no longer accept him.

“The patient was transported via blue light ambulance this morning to the facility where he received treatment.”

Hundreds of patient across Sussex – including renal patients and those needing radiotherapy and blood transfusions – have faced delays getting to hospital appointments by non-emergency transport.

Patientshave also been waiting to be taken home after appointments.

Coperforma, a private company, which took over the running of the patient transport system on April 1 has apologised ‘unreservedly’ to patients affected.

Michael Clayton, CEO of of Coperforma said: “Coperforma accepts that the level of service it has been able to provide over the first few days of its Sussex provision is unacceptable.

“While it takes full responsibility for the situation, a number of factors outside of our control at the takeover point contributed to a ‘perfect storm’ that have mitigated against as successful start to the service as had been planned.”

The company said there have been problems with data transfer and patient booking information and has since employed additional staff at its call centres.

South East Coast Ambulance Service Foundation Trust (SECAmb) was the previous provider of the service before Coperforma was awarded the contract.

In a statement, SECAmb said: “South East Coast Ambulance Service wishes to clarify that the transition plan for the Patient Transport Service required that the data transfer for patients was the responsibility of the Patient Transport Bureau (PTB).

“The PTB is independent of our organisation and maintained the full database of patient journeys. We acted professionally throughout the transfer process and we are very proud of the care provided by our staff over many years.”

A spokesperson for the Sussex Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) said: “We recognise that the first few days of the new non-emergency Sussex Patient Transport Service were not acceptable.

“This is due to a number of complex issues, including problems with data transfer and patient booking information.

“The Sussex CCGs apologise to all patients and users of the service. We assure you that we are taking this situation very seriously and are working with the new provider Coperforma, and our partners, to ensure the service meets the needs of our population as quickly as possible.”

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