As meetings continue in Lewes in the saga surrounding the patient transport service in Sussex, Eastbourne MP, Caroline Ansell has issued a statement today (6 September).
On the issue she said, “Like many Sussex MPs, I have been engaging with all parties in support of the patient transport service now managed by Coperforma these last weeks and months.
I have dealt directly with our Hospital Chief at the DGH around contingency plans due to the repeated problems of patients missing appointments. I have been supporting individual patients and their families too who suffered in the chaos that followed the new contract and secured compensation for them.
I was told in July that performance figures were at 94% (figures independently verified) but, latest reports from the ground would challenge this and I’m seeking further information.
But it strikes me that whatever the level of the service being provided, it is currently being run on the goodwill of our drivers. It is utterly unacceptable that they have not been paid on time or at the right level.
I spoke just yesterday with a driver who has not been paid and who could run the risk of losing his home. He is desperately upset over how patients are being treated, and the lack of funding and sheer confusion that is prevailing with Coperforma in charge. Another driver confirmed to me that he (and a number of his colleagues) have had to pay for the petrol needed to drive their ambulances directly from their own pockets, and having to top up their work phones with their own cash. The situation is shambolic.
Sussex MPs have formally written to the CCG, urging them to take a more direct role. They have assured us that drivers' former NHS terms and conditions will be honoured and that there are contingency plans in place.
It’s fair to say the situation is simply not good enough and I will continue to press for the service we need.”