Healthwatch East Sussex has spoken out about the decision to rid Coperforma of their license to provide non-emergency patient transport in Eastbourne and the rest of Sussex.
In a statement, they said, “Healthwatch East Sussex remains deeply concerned that people in the county have had to live with a service which has failed to meet their needs for so many months. All the information we have seen indicates that the failure to deliver this contract has resulted in significant anxiety and disruption to service access. It is yet to be clarified whether it has led to actual harm.
“We hope that this decision taken by the CCG’s will lead to a radically improved service to the public and we ask for the implementation plan for the new service to be shared with us so that we can provide assurance to the public that they will see improvements shortly. In this respect Healthwatch East Sussex offers its support in assisting with the transition to the new service and we will be initiating discussions at the earliest opportunity with the CCG’s.
“Healthwatch East Sussex will ensure that the new provider, South Central Ambulance service, information is made available to people including a telephone number to call if they are experiencing difficulties with pick up or are anxious about the status of a booking.
“We will also undertake to provide to the CCG’s, joint Healthwatch independent feedback on the experience of patients as the implementation of the transfer to the new provider is rolled out across the area.
“From here on in, it is essential that local Healthwatch and all other interested parties are kept fully updated on the performance of the contract, so that we in turn can keep the public notified on a regular basis.
“This service is vital to the public receiving the right care at the right time and faith must be restored in the ability of patient transport to fulfil its part in maintaining people’s wellbeing.
“Learning for the system
“All parties now need to sit down with the CCG’s and NHS England, to learn from this experience, identify what went wrong and put in place actions to ensure this can never happen again.
“We don’t yet know the financial consequences for the health and care system in East Sussex, but we will make strong representations on behalf of local people if they have to pay for what has happened through reduction in other services. Payments for a process and service which has fundamentally failed to provide for the needs of patients must come from elsewhere.”