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NHS non-emergency patient transport service in Norfolk set for new era with transfer to private firm

14:57 26 September 2014

ERS Medical will take over the Norfolk PTS contract on October 1.

ERS Medical will take over the Norfolk PTS contract on October 1.

Archant

Health chiefs pledged to improve a non-emergency transport service in Norfolk ahead of an NHS service being transferred to a private company.

A new era for the county’s patient transport service (PTS) will begin next week when the contract officially transfers from the region’s ambulance service to ERS Medical.

The service, which takes patients to and from hospital, GP and other health appointments, has been run by the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) for the last eight years.

However, from next Wednesday, patients who qualify for the service in Norwich, South Norfolk, West Norfolk and North Norfolk areas will need to phone a different number when a new five year contract begins with ERS Medical.

Union representatives have raised concerns about the transfer of the Norfolk PTS after a new Essex service, run by the private company, resulted in some patients missing appointments because of transport delays earlier this year.

Officials said many of the ambulance staff that ran Norfolk PTS would continue under ERS Medical as part of a staff transfer.

Nikki Cocks, director of operations and delivery for Norwich Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “We re-procured the contract to run this service in compliance with public sector legislation. ERS Medical was chosen from a number of bidders, based on the quality of the service offered and also value for taxpayers’ money. We look forward to working with ERS Medical to continue an excellent and valued NHS service to our patients.”

Brendan Fatchett, managing director for ERS Medical, added that the company aimed to improve communication with users of the service and was working with Voluntary Norfolk to bring back the Car Link volunteer drivers’ scheme.

“We are delighted to expand our offering in Norfolk and build on the existing services we’ve been delivering to the area for a number of years. We look forward to continuing to work with the Norfolk community and delivering a service which is focused on patient care,” he said.

EEAST will continue to provide the non-emergency transport services for patients living in Great Yarmouth and Waveney and the rest of Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. Norfolk PTS oversaw 115,000 patient journeys last year.

The patient transport access booking number has changed to 0333 240 4100. Visit www.ersmedical.co.uk

What are your experiences of PTS in Norfolk? Email adam.gretton@archant.co.uk

10 comments

  • Another step towards privatisation. Success for Cameron and Norman Lamb. Simple policy ,cut funding for the NHS, service falls and in come the cavalry. The private sector. It was a Tory government that brought in PFI hospitals. A hospital that would have cost 2-300 hundred million ended up costing 1 billion. All good for business but oh so bad for the taxpayers and patients. Cameron the " NHS safe in my hands " was a very true statement He just did not make clear who it was safe for. Obviously him and his wealthy chums.

    Report this comment

    stormy

    Saturday, September 27, 2014

  • One Horse town... If the deal was struck on the golf course then clearly it was inspired by EEASTs managerdirector recruitment policies.

    Report this comment

    Panda

    Wednesday, September 24, 2014

  • There will have been issues in Essex and there will be delays and issues here, but these have ONLY been brought to your attention because of EEAST and Unison. If anyone actually realised the amount of performance indicators missed by EEAST in Norfolk, the number of patients left waiting and the amount of money NNUH, QEH and JPH need to spend on private transport to cover EEAST mistakes, you will realise why the NHS Ambulance Trust lost this contract. Sugar beet: This isn't a direct quote from BF. Probably misquote in response EEASTUnisons previous scare mongering amongst staff about the volunteers being cut. EDIFIR: The NHS Trust rely on St Johns, Human Touch and ERS Medical to give experience at a less clinical level to feed their recruitment. EEAST in fact regularly recruit sacked PAS staff, including to the Student Paramedic role because of poor recruitment policies, so you might find it's the other way round.

    Report this comment

    Panda

    Wednesday, September 24, 2014

  • Just as well the NHS is safe in the hands of the Condems, privatisation by the back door.

    Report this comment

    Stan

    Wednesday, September 24, 2014

  • I am confused by Brendan Fatchett's statement that he is bringing back the Car Link volunteer driver scheme. EEAST already use volunteer drivers for about 50% of their NEPTS journeys, under Transport Plus, a partnership with NCC. Apart from a change in name, how is this "bringing back"?

    Report this comment

    Sugarbeet

    Wednesday, September 24, 2014

  • Nikki Cocks said "We re-procured the contract to run this service in compliance with public sector legislation.", ie in compliance with the 2012 Health&Social Care Act, based on a paper written in 1988 for the Adam Smith Institute. Privatising NPTS is the thin end of the wedge. GP contracts are also up for grabs, with 85% of GPs not expecting to be running a practice in 10 years time (from a survey conducted by their trade magazine Pulse). If Milliband is serious about taking back the NHS, he needs to act quickly. If the NHS isn't exempted from the secretive Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations, US corporations will be able to take NHS contracts and then sue the UK government when changes in legislation threatens their future profits. Fyi, ERS is ultimately owned by US corporation Stericycle.

    Report this comment

    Sugarbeet

    Wednesday, September 24, 2014

  • More privatisation for private profit. How very 80s :-(

    Report this comment

    marty r

    Tuesday, September 23, 2014

  • Yes as has been said. It's a sad day for Norfolk when this service is passed to ERS. They have a string of complaints against them throughout the east of England Area. It batters the real,Ambulance Service to the wall the way contracts are given over to the Private Sector. Some staff within these Private services are working for them as they would not be accepted in the NHS ones. It's bad enough for the NHS Ambulance Service being kicked down by their own Directors And Board Miss Management without these further smacks in the face

    Report this comment

    edifir

    Tuesday, September 23, 2014

  • Privatisation of the NHS by stealth. It is happening now and will continue as long as this govt is in power.

    Report this comment

    Paul Cunningham

    Tuesday, September 23, 2014

  • Wonderful news to hear that deals are still being struck on the golf course.

    Report this comment

    One Horse Town

    Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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