GMB call for new laws in protecting the NHS from private piracy
“The CCG’s and importantly those individuals tasked with direct responsibility for the contract and its management must be held accountable and not, as they have been, promoted for such a costly abject failure”, says GMB Southern
GMB have called for new laws in protecting the NHS from private piracy. As the Sussex PTS Coperforma fiasco continues to cost the public purse even more, the union believe questions have remained unanswered regarding why, when It was inevitable that Coperforma would end up owing millions, that the fountain of funds on a zero service return wasn’t turned off earlier.
GMB, Sussex patients and the public are still waiting for answers over the disastrous awarding and ending of the £15.75 million a year contract to Coperforma, which saw the unsuccessful patient transport supplier walk away with £16.2 million of public funds after only a catastrophic 7 months of service delivery failures, patient safety issues, and mismanagement of staff and contractors. Coperforma’s liquidators have since found near empty company accounts and that the company owe over £11.3 million.
GMB are demanding that Parliament immediately seek to strengthen laws to protect the NHS short term, whilst looking again at the purposeful undermining of the NHS by the Tory government in order to continue with a program of wilful distribution of contracts worth billions to Tory supporters and private profiteers.
GMB are also calling for a full independent review of the combined Sussex CCG’s in its awarding of the PTS contract to Coperforma, its mismanagement during the 7-month period, ignoring warnings from the GMB union and its transferring ambulance members.
Gary Palmer, GMB Regional Organiser said: "This was always a going to be a disaster, and everyone told the CCG’s so from day one.
"Was it preventable though?
"Of course it was, and the first warning signs were clear early on with no one at the CCG’s questioning why Coperforma were the only bidder for the contract?
"Did it result in the CCG’s being less attentive to possible problems in order to move the service out to the private sector as soon as possible on what turned out to be the most fitting date of April 1st 2016?
"It was High Weald and Lewes Havens, as lead for the Sussex CCG’s, sole responsibility to scrutinise carefully the due diligence provided by Coperforma, that they were both a fit and proper company to not only deliver such an important contract service wise for Sussex but that they were financially trustworthy to be awarded a contract worth £15.75 million per year of public funding.
"Seeing Coperforma subsequently removed from the contract after only 7 months, having had two ambulance providers working for Coperforma go to the wall, having to fight to get the CCG’s to accept their responsibilities to the staff left high and dry without wages and having their pensions stolen, and seeing extra monies paid to Coperforma above the unearned amount they ripped the public off for, just to ensure they behaved during the transfer of services to NHS provider South Central Ambulance Service. Due diligence was not misinterpreted but potentially ignored just to place it into the private sector.
"The CCG’s and importantly those individuals tasked with direct responsibility for the contract and its management must be held accountable and not, as they have been, promoted for such a costly abject failure. Parliament must do its part to prevent further contracts finding its way into similar profiteer’s hands in the future.
"GMB will fight robustly any future plans to move this back into private hands, should the combine CCG’s feel like wasting even more public monies, and let me be clear leave it when re it should have always been safe in NHS hands."