Ambulances in Northamptonshire help out after ‘teething problems’ at private firm

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The ambulance service for Northamptonshire is being called in to transport upto six patients a day on routine transfers after ‘teething problems’ by the private firm that now runs the service, it has been claimed.

Concerns were expressed by East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) bosses in March after it lost an appeal, after losing the patient transport service contract for the whole East Midlands, to a combination of NSL Ltd and Arriva.

The contract started earlier this month, but health bosses said at a board meeting that EMAS was being called in “five to six times a day”, when patients needed clinical care, such as medical oxygen, that the private companies do not provide.

Sometimes telephone calls to the firms’ call centres were not answered, resulting in EMAS ambulances having to attend, the meeting heard.

Peter Ripley, EMAS director of operations, said: “We’re perfectly capable of doing it as long as we get paid and know about it in advance so we can plan appropriately.”