GMB welcomes Coperforma news

The GMB union has welcomed the news troubled patient transport service provider Coperforma has been stripped of its contract today (Tuesday) after a catalogue of errors.

South Central Ambulance Service will take over next April
South Central Ambulance Service will take over next April

Although no statement is still forthcoming from GP led clinical commissioning groups, which appointed Coperforma, rumours are rife that the deal with the firm is off and the contract will be taken back in-house next April.

The decision follows months of controversy surrounding Coperforma which took over the contract in April this year.

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There was a flood of complaints about patients failing to get to their appointments at hospital, poor performance issues and failure to pay invoices.

The GMB union, which had been calling for the clinical commissioning groups to remove Coperforma from the contract for many months, said it was delighted.

The union’s Gary Palmer said, “We can only applaud along with patients and GMB members the long awaited decision by the seven Sussex CCGs 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 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.

“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.”

South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) NHS Foundation Trust take over full responsibility for the management and delivery of the contract by April 1 2017 after a managed exit for the failed private contractor Coperforma.