South East Coast Ambulance loses Surrey patient transport contract

South East Coast Ambulance Image copyright SECAMB
Image caption Secamb will stop providing patient transport in Surrey next year

South East Coast Ambulance Service (Secamb) has lost a bid to continue running Surrey's patient transport service.

Secamb said it was disappointed its bid to provide the service from April 2017 had been unsuccessful.

The contract, which covers Surrey, Hampshire and Hounslow, has gone to South Central Ambulance Service.

The five-year contract was awarded on behalf of six clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).

Julia Ross, chief executive of North West Surrey CCG, said: "The new service will be more responsive and we have put steps in place to ensure the needs of patients are put front and centre."

James Underhay, deputy chief executive of South Central Ambulance Service, welcomed the news. He said: "We will continue to grow as an organisation while maintaining quality of service."

Secamb has been under intense scrutiny over its management of NHS 111 calls and has received a warning from the health regulator.

A spokesman said the trust had ensured its bid would allow it to provide a high-quality and responsive service.

But he said: "This news sadly sees the end of Secamb providing patient transport services in its region after a long and proud history."

Staff who were affected would be contacted to discuss next steps, he added.

Secamb covers Kent, Surrey, Sussex and north-east Hampshire, an area with a population of about 4.5m, and historically ran patient transport across the region.

Patient transport in Kent is now run by G4S and the service in Sussex by Coperforma.

From April, Secamb will provide emergency ambulances only.

South Central serves more than 4m people across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire.

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