Employees working in the Sussex patient transport service turned up to find several bases closed this morning.
Coperforma took over the contract back in April and according to the company itself the service is ‘now on the road to recovery after its disastrous start six months ago’.
But a day later staff working for Docklands, one of Coperforma’s sub-contractors, have turned up to work to find stations closed in St. Leonards, Worthing, and Bognor.
A hand-drawn sign at one of the locations says: “Closed due to issues with Coperforma. Any problems please call [phone number] Michael Clayton [chief executive officer at Coperforma].”
Some employees at Docklands have claimed that they have not been paid for several weeks, with the GMB union stepping in to offer drivers supermarket vouchers so they can put food on the table.
Some staff at Docklands transferred from another sub-contractor VM Langfords, which went into administration earlier this year.
A spokesman for Coperforma said: “We are urgently seeking clarification of overnight reports that Docklands Medical Services (DMS) has ceased operations and will issue further information as and when we receive it.
“In the meantime we can assure all patients that there will be no impact on the provision of the patient transport service across Sussex because one of the key benefits of the Coperforma managed service is that we can quickly switch capacity, as we have done in this case, to another provider.
“We had no prior knowledge from the management of DMS of this turn of events, particularly as all our contractual financial obligations to the company are fully up to date, we have received written assurance from them to that effect, and we were assured that all staff salaries were being paid.
“Since DMS agreed to take over from VM Langfords we have made payments to them totalling £479,256.
“Coperforma is a financially sound company, our contractors’ invoices are being paid on time and the Sussex patient transport service is operating well.”
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