Sussex

Coperforma patient transport service to be wound up

An ambulance
Image caption Coperforma faced serious criticism of its service in Sussex within days of beginning its contract

A patient transport service which lost its multimillion-pound contract over delays in taking people to and from hospitals in Sussex is to be dissolved.

Coperforma, which admitted it had "badly let down" patients, is the subject of a compulsory strike-off notice reported at Companies House.

During its seven-month tenure last year the service was also criticised for non-payment to sub-contractors.

It was taken over by the South Central Ambulance Service in November 2016.

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The non-emergency patient transport service for Sussex was passed to the privately run company, which is based in Basingstoke, Hampshire, on 1 April following its appointment by the NHS High Weald Lewes Havens Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

However, within days, dialysis and chemotherapy patients revealed they were suffering delays in reaching appointments.

Gary Palmer, from the GMB union, which represented most of the drivers, also warned that "someone could die".

Speaking on Monday, he said the news that Coperforma was being dissolved was "long overdue", and questions should be asked as to why it was given the contract in the first place.

He suggested that the firm would have received an "exit package" and had public money which "deserves to be returned".

A spokesman for the NHS High Weald Lewes Havens CCG said "no compensation or termination fee was paid to Coperforma".

The BBC has contacted Coperforma for a statement.

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