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East of England Ambulance Service to provide patient transport

East of England Ambulance Service has been awarded a caretaker contract to provide non-emergency patient transport in Bedfordshire, Luton and Hertfordshire.

This comes after HMRC issued a winding up order for Private Ambulance Service, the current provider, on Wednesday.

The new caretaker contract will bring reassurance to patients in the area after a period of uncertainty and ensure continuity of service, which is a priority during the transition.

Speaking on behalf of the consortia of NHS organisations that buy health care services, in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Luton, Kathryn Magson, Accountable Officer for Herts Valley Clinical Commissioning Group said:

“Making sure that we provide a quality, safe service for our patients is our absolute priority. We have been working closely with Unison and East of England Ambulance Service to ensure that we can deliver continuity of service at this difficult time and we are satisfied that the new caretaker arrangements will help us to deliver this as a matter of urgency.

“We hope that returning the contract for non-emergency transport to an established NHS provider will give assurance to our patients.

“Together with East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust and the hospitals, we are working hard to make sure that disruption is kept to an absolute minimum during this transition. However, some non-urgent appointments may be rescheduled while the new contract establishes, so that we can prioritise patients who are being discharged from hospital or attending appointments for cancer treatments and dialysis.”

Robert Morton, Chief Executive, East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said:

“As part of the NHS family, we have come together to ensure that patients get the care they need, when they need it. Our focus right now is ensuring services continue over the coming days and that staff are supported in their workplace.”

Tim Roberts, UNISON said:

“The contract has not been good for some time. We have heard concerns about patient care and staff welfare and so we are looking forward to working closely with East of England Ambulance Service, the CCGs and Trusts to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients and staff in the future.”

If patients are concerned about transport for next week, they are advised to ring the hospital or care setting where they have their appointment.