Bexhill’s MP Huw Merriman and his Hastings counterpart Amber Rudd have welcomed an independent report into the NHS patient transport service in Sussex.
The contract, which was transferred in April from Sussex East Coast Ambulance (SECAmb) Service to Coperforma, has led to a public furore, as many vulnerable patients across the county have missed hospital appointments or arrived hours late.
The report, commissioned by the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), has criticised the transfer process and the services delivered.
It has made 10 recommendations for future NHS service transfers and measures needed by the CCG until Coperforma’s performance is fully meeting requirements.
Both MPs have visited hospital staff and patients to hear the problems first-hand.
A series of meetings were held in Parliament between Sussex MPs, the CCG and Coperforma in order to understand the problems, hold the providers to account and to press for urgent action.
Mr Merriman said: “I welcome the report and would urge those involved to take heed of the lessons learned.
“Having organised and chaired the meetings with my colleagues in Sussex, I am pleased the CCG and Coperforma returned to see us last month and were able to demonstrate the targets, which they had set themselves, were beginning to be met.
“The scale of transferring this service was clearly underestimated but I believe we should now look to the future and ensure that performance continues to improve.”
Ms Rudd said: “The experience suffered by vulnerable patients and NHS staff was unacceptable. The independent report rightly makes it clear there were serious failings and recommends compensation is considered.
“I would like to thank all of those who worked so hard in our hospitals to cope with the delays to appointments.
“Many of the staff worked late to catch up. Patients should be assured their MPs will continue to work together to monitor performance and keep up the pressure for patients who rely on Coperforma to deliver them to and from hospital.”
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