Further Protests over Unpaid Wages for Sussex Patient Transport Service

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GMB, the union for ambulance staff, are to have further protests over unpaid wages outside of the surgeries of Doctors who either chair or sit on any of the 7 CCG’s that make up the Sussex group who disastrously privatised Sussex Patient Transport service and for failing to carry out sufficient due diligence tests and service provision model checks before handing the Managed Service Provision to Coperforma on April 1st 2016.

GMB today wrote a letter to Wendy Carberry, the Accountable Officer of High Weald Lewes, calling for the Patient Transport Service to be taken back into an NHS Trust or Ambulance Service after around 20 staff, working for subcontractor Docklands Medical Services, remain unpaid for August.  The wording of this letter is available for download below.

The next protest will be held tomorrow, Tuesday September 20th at 11am outside the surgery of Dr Martin Writer, Chair of the NHS Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford Clinical Commissioning Group at the following address:

Park Practice
Eastbourne Park Primary Care Centre
Broadwater Way
BN22 9PQ

This will be followed by a protest at 2pm outside the surgery of Dr Christa Beesley, Chief Clinical Officer of Brighton and Hove CCG at the following address:

Woodingdean Medical Centre
Warren Road

Gary Palmer, GMB Regional Organiser, said: “These protests will go on until collectively the combined Sussex CCG’s correct the devastating mistake of awarding the Patient Transport Service to Coperforma.

Not only has that error seen patients journey experiences plummet to an all-time low but has left GMB members who, despite not being paid, have carried on working and would have continued to work if Docklands Medical Services Ltd hadn’t closed its doors on the 14th September. GMB members have continued to deliver the best service possible without jobs for the second time in 11 weeks following the previous contractor VM Langford’s liquidation.

Although GMB blame Coperforma, it’s only what we expect from the private sector full of sharks and shysters looking to rip off the NHS, but the responsibility for this whole mess lies squarely at the door of the Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group members.

Our members are having to rely on GMB supermarket vouchers and crowd funding in order to put food on family tables, an unacceptable position for proud ex-NHS staff, and is the result of a failure of the CCG’s responsibilities in carrying out meaningful due diligence of all involved when awarding such important NHS contracts out to profiteers. You, as the contract commissioner, must demand that Coperforma and Docklands settle all staff outstanding salaries immediately, in what we feel is going to a pivotal period for the survival of Sussex Patent transport services.

GMB are now calling for the welcomed rhetoric and supportive words coming from you and the collective CCG’s to be turned into immediate action which will see staff’s nightmare over and their future protected if the Combined Sussex CCG’s opt for the right choice of putting the service back into an NHS trust, Ambulance service or other responsible organisation.”