Non-urgent patient transport drivers are to protest in Eastbourne next week over unpaid wages.
Members of the GMB Union will take action outside the surgery of Dr Martin Writer, Chair of the NHS Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford Clinical Commissioning Group in Broadwater Way on Tuesday (20 September) at 11am. A second protest will be staged in the afternoon in Brighton.
Drivers are angry after their salaries haven’t been paid on time and are calling on the CCGs to fully investigate their decision to award the contract to Coperforma, a company which was hit with bad headlines since it took over the running of the service in April.
Earlier this week, Docklands Medical Services, one of Coperforma’s subcontractors, appeared to cease operations, with drivers finding empty offices.
Gary Palmer, GMB Regional Organiser, said, “These protests will go on until collectively the combined Sussex CCG’s correct the devastating mistake of awarding the Patient Transport Service to Coperforma.
“Not only has that error seen patients journey experiences plummet to an all-time low but has left GMB members who, despite not being paid, have carried on working and would have continued to work if Docklands Medical Services Ltd hadn’t closed its doors on the 14th September. GMB members have continued to deliver the best service possible without jobs for the second time in 11 weeks following the previous contractor VM Langford’s liquidation.
“Although GMB blame Coperforma, it’s only what we expect from the private sector full of sharks and shysters looking to rip off the NHS, but the responsibility for this whole mess lies squarely at the door of the Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group members.
“It’s a responsibility the GMB now expects them to exercise in bringing this service back into the NHS family immediately, either with South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) or even into a Sussex based NHS Hospital Trust to administer on behalf of the whole of the county.”