On 1 April 2016, Coperforma took over the contract for the Sussex Patient Transport Service (PTS) from South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, following a competitive procurement and tendering process. Performance levels were very poor from the start, and recently there have been a number of issues between Coperforma and some of its subcontractors, which have raised concerns about the future sustainability of the service.
Coperforma has now agreed to step down from the contract, and the commissioners have asked SCAS to step in and take it over in a phased transfer over the next few months. Our absolute priority is to begin the difficult process of rebuilding patients’ and their families’ confidence by delivering a high quality patient transport service. The contract will be fully run by SCAS by April 2017. We are now working closely with the lead clinical commissioning group (NHS High Weald Lewes Havens CCG), Coperforma, NHS England and the other Sussex CCGs to achieve this.
James Underhay, Deputy Chief Executive, 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.”
“The fact that the commissioners have turned to us to recover this service is a tremendous vote of confidence in our PTS service, and it follows on from the recent CQC report, which specifically highlighted the care that SCAS staff provide to patients using the Patient Transport Service, rating it as ‘Outstanding’. We will be putting all our energies in to ensuring that we continue to maintain the existing high levels of service that we provide to our existing patients, whilst taking on this new contract.”