Ambulance service to be privatised
IT S official – a significant chunk of the ambulance service across Hertford-shire and Bedfordshire will be privatised, saving hospital bosses around £250,000 a year. The East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust has announced the contract for non-emergency
IT'S official - a significant chunk of the ambulance service across Hertford-shire and Bedfordshire will be privatised, saving hospital bosses around £250,000 a year.
The East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust has announced the contract for non-emergency ambulance services will be taken away from the East of England Ambulance Service - the NHS organisation which has held the contract for 30 years - and awarded to a private company called Medical Services.
Non-emergency ambulance services - known as patient transport services - include transferring patients to and from hospitals and doctors' surgeries, as well as ferrying vital equipment and patient records across different hospital sites.
A statement issued by the Trust said: "Following a competitive tendering process the Trust will, in line with all other Trusts in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, be moving its patient transport services provided from the East of England Ambulance Service to Medical Services.
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"The tender process covered quality and extent of service as well as financial considerations.
"The new contract will save the Trust around £250,000 per annum on top of considerable savings already made by encouraging patients to make their own way to hospital.
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"A transition group has now been established to make the transfer as soon as possible."
As spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service, Rob Ashford - locality chief operating officer for Hertfordshire - said: "We are deeply disappointed at losing the non-emergency ambulance services contract for Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.
"Obviously there are implications for the day-to-day running of the East of England Ambulance Service.
"The non-emergency services are and have been vital in supporting their blue light colleagues during incidents such as the Potters Bar and Hatfield train disasters.
"And most recently, during the high winds and severe snow in February, the support of the patient transport services team proved instrumental.
"Our capability to respond to major and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) incidents throughout Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire will be significantly reduced."
Medical Services declined to comment on its new acquisition.