We must ask why the Sussex CCG’s have not done more to ensure that a program of support for SCAS to reduce the number of private providers has not been more pro-actively promoted within Sussex, says GMB Southern
Following the publication of the damning Care Quality Commission (CQC) report on the outsourcing a patient transport services in Sussex, GMB is calling for action to remove failing private sector contractors who are still part of the service.
The latest CQC report published on 20 February looks into Thames Ambulance Service. The company runs both major patient transport service contracts throughout the country, including sub contract PTS front line services in Sussex through NHS South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS).
The report listed a serious of services that it felt the company needed to improve and take regulatory action against, which include; the poor culture around incident reporting, investigating and learning; failing to have a clinical quality dashboard or similar to provide an overall picture of safety and quality at any given time by collating information; failure to have clear records to show that all vehicles had received an MOT; failing to have a clear service policy and procedure relating to transporting children and the risks this could present; and no vision or strategy for the service.
Gary Palmer, GMB Regional Organiser said:
“This report is damning. We must ask why the combined clinical commissioners of Sussex, have not done more to ensure that a program of support for SCAS to reduce the number of private providers has not been more pro-actively promoted within Sussex. We must start backing the NHS Ambulance service to bring more of the provisions back in-house.
“When Coperforma ruined the PTS service here in Sussex, the clinical commissioners made the right move to kick them off the contract and to seek help from NHS professionals South Central Ambulance Service.
“SCAS answered the CCG call and the very much needed, but rushed transfer of services back to them, was a very good day for patients, the public and of course the staff left high and dry by a procession of rip off profiteers.
“The speed at which that transfer happened meant that SCAS inherited a number of contractors, some of whom I will say are very good and are capable of delivering support to SCAS in a professional NHS manner, and some unfortunately who despite the very best efforts of their hard working frontline staff and their patient focused approach, are just not well led and supported by their management teams and organisations.
“Although we believe the CQC team did not actually visit the Local Thames base in Sussex and speak to the staff, the CQC report bares striking similarities to discussions I’ve actually had with concerned staff on issues they see on a day to day basis. These issues cover training concerns, vehicle and/or equipment issues, and being poorly led, all of which have resulted in on-going low morale for the majority of those at the local Thames Ambulance Sheffield park base.
“It’s certainly time as far as GMB are concerned that the new Central Sussex Commissioning Group look to remove those privates clearly not up to acceptable service levels. They must begin to put the foundations in place to do more to support SCAS in being able to complete the task of re-building a NHS Sussex PTS service and in doing so ensuring a stability for all patients and staff alike. Especially as it was the combined Sussex CCG’s mistakes in the first place which caused all manner of disasters for the county.”