Coperforma’s ‘unacceptable’ patient transport service to be scrutinised by health committee

The Patient Transport Service (PTS), previously run by SECAmb (pictured), was taken over by private firm Coperforma in April
The Patient Transport Service (PTS), previously run by SECAmb (pictured), was taken over by private firm Coperforma in April
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Bosses at Coperforma are due to appear before an East Sussex health scrutiny committee to discuss the ‘unacceptable’ performance of its patient transport service.

Since the private company took over the contract from South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) back in April patients have complained about numerous incidents of crews either not turning up or showing up late.

Both the doctors who commissioned the service and bosses at Coperforma have already appeared before Sussex MPs in Parliament and now East Sussex Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) is set to discuss the PTS contract on Thursday June 30.

The High Weald and Lewes Havens Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has already engaged an independent company to carry out an independent inquiry into the transition and mobilisation of the new PTS and a report is expected to be published in July.

But the committee report explains that VM Langfords, one of the sub-contractors used by Coperforma, which reportedly provides 40 vehicles had gone into the preliminary stages of the administration process.

The report labelled the performance of the PTS ‘unacceptable’ and added: “HWLH CCG will present a report to HOSC which covers the procurement and transition processes, service issues experienced since 1 April, the remedial action plan, and current performance.

“Representatives of Coperforma and SECAmb will also be in attendance. The service issues have impacted on local hospital trusts in terms of delayed or missed appointments, and additional costs of providing alternative transport to enable patients to return home.

“Representatives of East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust and Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust will also be in attendance.”

The presentation due to be delivered by the CCG explains that there have been a number of problems with the booking hub, including lengthy call-handling response times, unexpectedly high call volumes, while some patient records on Coperforma’s system were either wrong or incomplete.

It explained that the CCG, Unison, and Coperforma were working to minimise the impact the changes at Langfords would have on the patient transport service and the staff.

In its key messages section the CCG explained that the PTS is still ‘experiencing difficulties’ and while there have been improvements in more timely call handling and journey transportation ‘further improvement is expected and necessary’.

Doctors were working with Coperforma to deliver improvement actions detailed in the Remedial Action Plan, but they were also exploring contingency plans should the RAP not deliver the required improvements.

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