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GMB welcomes return of Sussex patient transport service to NHS control

GMB members and staff from Docklands Medical Services have been informed that troubled patient transport provider Coperforma is to leave the Sussex PTS contract over the coming months.

The move will see 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 failed private contractor Coperforma.

Docklands staff will be transferred to SCAS as soon as possible as the combined CCGs and GMB look to get over 70 staff back to work at the earliest opportunity.

GMB has been calling for the CCGs to remove Coperforma from the contract for many months due to poor performance and failure to pay invoices. GMB also identified that John Porter, Chairman of Coperforma, was involved with the Panama Papers leak.

Gary Palmer GMB Organiser says: "We can only applaud, along with patients and GMB members, the long awaited decision by Sussex’s 7 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 that their inexperience, financial mismanagement and corporate bullying only led to two companies going to the wall although with the amount of money reported to be outstanding to other contractors they clearly cared very little about those they worked alongside.

“This whole Coperforma debacle has been an awful experience for both patients and our members and 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."