Bexhill and Battle MP ‘glad’ patient transport to be handed to NHS

Huw Merriman in  the Transport Select Committee. SUS-160414-073338001
Huw Merriman in the Transport Select Committee. SUS-160414-073338001

Bexhill and Battle MP Huw Merriman has welcomed the decision by Coperforma to step down from its role as patient transport service provider in Sussex.

The service was previously run by South East Coast Ambulance Services but were outsourced to Coperforma in April of this year to deliver via a series of sub-contracts with private transport operators.

Mr Merriman said: “The arrangement with Coperforma has been bedevilled from the start. Service declined as the company tried to get to grips with its requirements. Many patients failed to get to their appointments at hospital and this caused distress to the vulnerable and difficulties for hospitals and their staff.

“Whilst Coperforma’s recent performance has improved, there have been difficulties with driver operators facing cash-flow shortages due to lack of prompt payment. The model, having the CCG, Coperforma, and separate driver operators, was not working and I am glad that the CCG and Coperforma have found a solution which will see the contract returned to a more traditional provider with the NHS. It is now essential that we support Coperforma, the CCG and the new Ambulance service provider so they can transition the new contract over for April 2017.”

Meanwhile The Care Quality Commission is looking at the registration of patient transport drivers across the country following a failure by one transport company to possess the correct CQC approval to operate as a patient transport provider.

Mr Merriman said: “Whilst this appears a technicality, it was known by Coperforma and is thus essential that all CCGs and the CQC properly share information where private entities are involved.”

Mr Merriman has been leading a cross-party of Sussex MPs who have been adding their voice for changes to be made to the patient service provision in Sussex. It will hold its third meeting with the CCG in Parliament this month.

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