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GMB Condemn CCGs For Avoidable Crisis In Sussex

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

GMB Condemn Sussex CCGs For “Avoidable” Crisis In Sussex Patient Transport

The people of Sussex deserve better service and consideration than that which has been provided by these CCGs says GMB.

GMB, the union for ambulance staff, condemned Sussex CCGs today for taking decisions that led to the current crisis in Sussex patient transport despite a warning from the union in January.  (See notes to editors for a copy of a letter to Coastal and West Sussex CCG).

GMB, along with other trade unions, wrote to Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group on January 23rd 2016 warning of an “impending catastrophe” if a patient transport services (PTS) contract was awarded to Coperforma. The CCG dismissed these concerns and proceeded to award the contract to the provider.

Another of the providers involved in the contract, VM Langfords, appointed insolvency administrators on Friday (17th June 2016) after 5 of its vehicles were removed as payment for the company's mounting debts.

Charles Harrity, GMB Senior Organiser, said “The CCGs’ refusal to listen to the concerns raised by GMB has led to the people of Sussex having to put up with an inferior service since April and this entirely avoidable crisis has now deepened with VM Langford’s going to the wall.

The people of Sussex deserve better service and consideration than that which has been provided by these CCGs’ members.

It seems the same mistakes are about to be repeated as attempts are made to find a buyer for VM Langfords within just 5 days. Members of the CCG have not given themselves anywhere near enough time to carry out the due diligence necessary to find a responsible buyer for this vital public service. If they could not get it right in  6 months it is unlikely that they will get it right in 5 days.”


Contact: Gary Palmer on 07552165950 Paul Maloney on 07801343839 Charles Harrity on 07977518042 or GMB press office on 07970 863411 or 07739 182691

Notes to Editors

1 Letter to Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group dated Saturday 23rd January 2016

Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group                                

Ms Wendy Carberry,

                                                We GMB, Unison, Unite and Royal College of Nursing as Joint Trade Unions are writing to express our grave concerns that your decision to handover the delivery of Sussex Patient Transport Services to a Managed Service Provider has every potential for serious repercussions to Service Users, NHS A+E services and our work colleagues from the Patient Transport Service.

We are deeply perturbed by the expectancy of impending catastrophe we can foresee as Coperforma, with limited inside knowledge in the field will go into business with three private providers that have no previous experience of handling patient transport on such a large scale. It is debatable that these private transport providers will meet the Standards set out by the NHS and as such may fail to provide high quality of care for patients.

We wish to also raise our concern and suggest you urgently investigate as to how Coperforma uses World Class Governance, Risk, Compliance and Improvement Management (GRC) to provide their Board of Directors with a consistent and impartial view of performance and management control of Transport Service and Transport Partners on an ongoing basis. We ask how this process can be transparent when GRC is a sister company to Coperforma and they are subsequently run from the same address.  Further the concern pertaining to Coperforma is exacerbated by the engagement meetings held by them, where they were unable to give any reassurance to SECAMB staff in regards to potential future employers, location of headquarters and basic policy of operating procedures. The current SECAMB staff  espouse to their trust values and the Francis 6 C’s, we are shocked to see that when requested by staff, Coperforma were unable to provide any such Values and to date hold no such values on record.

Therefore, we feel compelled to request that the decision to privatise Sussex Patient Transport Services is reversed and that you formally investigate our grave and serious concerns.

We request that you respond in writing within seven working days to the Joint Union Staff Side Chair Mr Trevor Freeman:  The Horseshoe, Bolters Lane, Banstead, Surrey, SM7 2AS.


 GMB Branch Secretary S69                                                      UNISON Branch Secretary

 Jason Dicker                                                                               Peter Steventon

UNITE the UNION Branch Secretary                                         Royal College of Nursing

 Trevor Freeman                                                                        

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