Controversial Thames Ambulance group walks out of contract to provide Northamptonshire's patient transport service

The company had two years left in its contract - but has since terminated the deal

Monday, 2nd March 2020, 2:54 pm
Updated Monday, 2nd March 2020, 2:56 pm
Northamptonshire's Patient Transport Service contract has been given to the East Midlands Ambulance Service.
Northamptonshire's Patient Transport Service contract has been given to the East Midlands Ambulance Service.

A controversial company has walked out of its contract with the NHS to provide non-emergency patient transport services (PTS) for Northamptonshire's hospitals.

Thames Ambulance Service was contracted to run the county's PTS until 2022 after it was handed the rains in 2017.

But now, the East Midlands Ambulance Service has taken over the service after Thames terminated their contract in late 2019.

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No details have been published about why Thames walked away from Northamptonshire's contract.

But it comes after the parent group was rated 'inadequate' by the CQC in the early days of the contract in 2017.Inspectors criticised the service when they were met with dirty ambulances, and found oxygen cylinders were unsecured when stored overhead and posed a danger to patients and staff.

And, in 2019, the watchdog also scolded Thames about its safety procedures and infection control when transporting children.The county's patient transport service gives patients free lifts to NHS appointments while accommodating for medical needs like oxygen tanks and disabilities.

A spokesman for Thames Ambulance Service told radio broadcaster Harborough FM in 2019: “Following a series of transparent and constructive discussions between The Northamptonshire CCGs and Thames Ambulance Service Limited (TASL), TASL has instigated the contractual option to terminate its NEPTS contract (Non-Emergency Patient Transport Services) in Northamptonshire."

The contract is now being operated by the East Midlands Ambulance Service.