Plymouth ambulance service could go private

South Western Ambulance Trust patient transport ambulance
Image caption The none-emergency service takes less mobile people to and from hospital and other appointments

Non-emergency ambulance services in Plymouth and west Devon could be handed over to a private company next week.

A number of firms, as well as South Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust (SWAST), have been bidding for the five-year contract.

But Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is not yet revealing the name of its preferred provider.

It has already handed over the service in north and east Devon to NSL, formerly car park firm NCP.

The name of the Plymouth and west Devon service provider is not being revealed until after a 10-day "standstill period" to allow unsuccessful bidders to challenge the decision, the CCG said.

The aim of the new contract is to give better value for money.

No-one from health union Unison wanted to comment until the name of the new provider was revealed.

The service, which provides transport for less mobile patients, to and from hospital and other appointments, has been provided by the SWAST.

It transports more than 300,000 people every year around the region, but its services are being put out to contract in Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, Dorset, Gloucester or Wiltshire.

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