NHS ‘will bid to take Northamptonshire ambulance contract from criticised private firm’

Photo by Mark Lindsay
Photo by Mark Lindsay
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East Midlands Ambulance Service will try to take patient transport services back from much-criticised NSL, the trust has confirmed.

Ambulance bosses announced yesterday they had won the Derbyshire contract that the private firm has vacated, and will from August take 4,500 people each week to appointments.

But it also confirmed it will bid for the Northamptonshire equivalent contract when it runs out in March next year, when NSL will similarly step aside.

The news will be welcomed by NSL staff who have privately expressed a desire to work again for the NHS.

Incentives for working directly for the NHS include the chance to get training to become emergency medics.

But several members of staff told the Chron they were unhappy at the level of service they were able to give in Northamptonshire since patient transport came under private control in 2012.

The NSL company was criticised for making elderly patients wait up to 12 hours, the closure of its Northampton control room, and attempts by the company to alter the contract, which it had claimed was ‘unsustainable’.

In February, transport arrived too late to pick up Northampton General Hospital patients a number of times, leading to patients being sent back to their in-demand bed 13 times. In December, this happened 22 times.

Patient transport is booked for journeys and on the day non-emergency transport between a patient’s home and a hospital or clinic.

For example, in Derbyshire, EMAS will be providing a transport service to renal patients for their dialysis appointments, and for mental health patients travelling to a community day centre.