Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 19°C

min temp: 14°C

ESTD 1874 Search

The pigs are coming. Find out more about

Pigs Gone Wild

here.

Essex: Union criticises appointment of private company to run patient transport service

07:35 22 January 2014

Paramedics are attending to two men trapped in a slurry pit.

Paramedics are attending to two men trapped in a slurry pit.

Archant

Health chiefs have refuted claims that patient care has been put at risk after a private company was chosen to run a patient transport service.

As of April, ERS Medical will operate the service taking patients to and from hospital for non-emergency treatment for Mid-Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which oversees health services in Braintree, Witham, Maldon and Chelmsford.

The service is currently provided by the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST).

Public services union Unison says staff have been shocked by the decision and there are fears a private company will prioritise shareholder profit over patient care.

The CCG has countered that under procurement rules it is obliged to consider bids from all providers, including private companies, and that ERS Medical has been evaluated “robustly” to assure patients’ safety.

Regional organiser for Unison, Tim Roberts, said the union believes patient care has been risked by the decision. He added: “This is an extremely disappointing decision. EEAST currently delivers an excellent service transporting patients to and from hospital for non-emergency treatment.

“Our members work hard to deliver quality care to vulnerable patients, including pensioners and disabled people. I went to meet many of the staff affected and they are still in shock.

“The public expects key health services to be run by the NHS and not some private company that prioritises shareholder profit over patient care. This is yet another example of the fragmentation of the NHS under this Conservative-Lib Dem led government.”

Around 50 staff will be transferred over to ERS Medical before April. The company already runs services for a number of NHS organisations including providing transport for high-risk patients for the Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and mail courier services for the Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust.

A spokesman for Mid-Essex CCG said patients can be assured they will receive a “safe and high standard” transport service.

He said: “Patient safety is of paramount importance to the CCG in all the services it commissions on behalf of the people it serves in mid-Essex.

“The statutory procurement process for the non-emergency patient transport service in mid-Essex involved a robust evaluation of patient safety against a range of quality measures. The opportunity to tender was open to all sectors, including NHS and private organisations, in line with national procurement regulations. Ongoing performance and quality management will be rigorously monitored.

“ERS Medical has similar contracts across the country and we are looking forward to working with them on this important service.”

0 comments

British Airways. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire.

Prime Minister David Cameron announced his resignation this morning after a surprise victory for the Leave campaign which could significantly change the country’s political landscape. But how will Brexit affect you? Read on to find out.

Tayler McGovern

A 15-year-old girl missing from Norfolk is believed to be in Suffolk.

Pat Betts from Framlingham with Le Reve who won best shod horse at the Grand National.

A Suffolk racehorse owner recruited craftsmen from the county to create a piece of sporting history.

Pigs Gone Wild Project Manager Norman Lloyd and Head of Property for the East of England Cooperative Stuart McDonald try to round up the pigs escaping the warehouse.

If you go down to Ipswich on Sunday, you are sure of a big surprise.

As is now the trend in a society where technology pervades our daily lives, many people took to social media to voice their opinions on the EU referendum result yesterday.

A peacock. Image: Jen Taylor

A call telling police about a late-night peacock visit is the latest in a string of bizarre 999 calls received by Essex Police in the past few months.

British BE2 First World War planes. Photo: Darren Harbar

A First World War aerodrome in Essex will be the launch point for a commemorative flight marking 100 years since the Battle of the Somme.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24