Private sector ambulance deal

Ambulance services are to be run by a private firm
Ambulance services are to be run by a private firm

AMBULANCE services in the region have lost out on a £20m contract to provide non-emergency patient transport in favour of private sector companies.

East Midlands Ambulance Service who currently provide the service would have used the contract – worth £19.9m annually – to buy a brand new, eco-friendly fleet.

Instead, the East Midlands Procurement and Commissioning Transformation on behalf of the region’s primary care trusts awarded the contract for Derbyshire to the privately owned NSL Ltd.

Phil Milligan, chief executive of East Midlands Ambulance Service, said: “We are very disappointed that the primary care trusts who commission this service have taken this decision.”

He added: “Our focus is now on the welfare of our staff as we share this news and we will be working hard over the next few days to analyse the impact on them and the organisation as a whole.”

A spokeswoman for Derbyshire’s primary care trust, NHS Derbyhire County, said that patients travelling to and from Chesterfield Royal Hospital would not be affected.

She added: “NSL Ltd was awarded the contract to provide non-emergency patient transport following a rigorous 10-month competitive tendering process by East Midlands Procurement and Commissioning Transformation.”

Existing patient transport employees in Derby and Derbyshire will be eligible for jobs with the new operators under the same terms and conditions as their current employment contracts.

John Hutchison, non-emergency transport commissioning lead for NHS Derbyshire County and NHS Derby City, said: “Patients are at the heart of everything we do, and it’s vital that they benefit from the highest standards of service.

“We’re delighted that this valuable service will be provided by a highly reputable firm, with a strong track record in delivering patient transport.”

NHS Derbyshire County said they did not anticipate job losses.