Coperforma, has lost its contract to run non-emergency patient transport services in Eastbourne and the rest of Sussex.
The company, which has been dogged with bad press, will officially step aside next April, according to sources close to Eastbourne Buzz.
It’s understood South Coast Ambulance Service will stage a managed takeover of the service to get patients to hospital for appointments. Their service, which currently looks after Thames Valley and Buckinghamshire, along with others, has a CQC rating of good.
Former Eastbourne MP, Stephen Lloyd,who has been campaigning against Coperforma for many months said, "This is tremendous news. My petition called for the patient transport service to be removed from Coperforma and returned to the NHS, which is exactly what has happened. South Central Ambulance Service is an NHS Trust with an excellent record. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all those who supported my petition across Eastbourne - almost 1,500 of you! And to Eastbourne Buzz who have been all over this issue from the beginning. A good result for people power in my opinion."
Gary Palmer GMB Organiser said, "We can only applaud along with patients and GMB members the long awaited decision by Sussex’s 7 CCG’s to remove Coperforma from managing the Patient Transport service here in the county.
“Coperforma simply never got to grips with delivering a contract which far exceeded the amount of patient journeys they had organised before, and every GMB Ambulance professional and contractor who worked on the contract all said the same in regard to their failed App and did so from day one.
“Some of their choices in sub-contractors also left much to be desired, and I remain surprised that their inexperience, financial mismanagement and corporate bullying only led to two company’s going to the wall although with the amount of money reported to be outstanding to other contractors they clearly cared very little to those they worked alongside.
“This whole Coperforma debacle has been an awful experience for both patients and our members and GMB, as the recognised union for PTS in Sussex, will work together with SCAS to ensure the transfer back to the NHS family is both smooth and protective of their current terms, conditions and continual service."
Wendy Carberry, Chief Executive of High Weald Lewes Havens Clinical Commissioning Group, which manages the contract on behalf of the seven Sussex CCGs, said, “We are delighted that SCAS has agreed to take over the patient transport service. The managed transfer will minimise disruption for patients. And we can start to resolve the situation for staff who have been through a period of uncertainty.”
James Underhay, Deputy Chief Executive of South Coast Ambulance Service, said, “SCAS is under no illusion that taking on delivery of this service will be challenging and that we need to stabilise the service before we can begin to make significant improvements to it. We fully recognise that this is a difficult period for the patients who rely on the service and the staff who provide it. I want to reassure Sussex patients that we at SCAS are fully committed to providing the service that they expect and deserve from the NHS, and to reassure the staff who will be joining us that we will provide them with the support and tools that they need to deliver a great service.”