Complaints up on private NHS transport firm

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A private company that won an NHS contract to carry Northamptonshire patients to hospital appointments has seen a rise in complaints.

East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) expressed dismay last year when it lost all its patient transport contracts to bids from private companies – including its Northamptonshire operation – to NSL Ltd.

The Chron has now discovered that patients have been less satisfied since NSL started in July. Analysis of the period from July 2011 to December 2011 under EMAS showed there were only two complaints from people in Northamptonshire, while in the same months in 2012, NSL received 29 formal complaints about their service.

Colin Todd, an organiser with the GMB union, said: “It is not a surprise when there is a such a change from NHS to private.

“What EMAS had was not perfect but it was a well-oiled machine, with vehicles being deployed from ambulance stations. The new contract will not be at that same level.

“Whether NSL are going to turn the level of complaints around remains to be seen, but the bottom line is they will always be most interested in making money.”

NSL said that up to December it had carried out 32,241 journeys, representing a complaints rate of less than one per one thousand journeys.