February 22, 2019
A patient transport service is able to continue running in the West Midlands after securing additional funding. The five-year contract has been awarded to West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) by six clinical commissioning groups in Cheshire, Warrington and Wirral, and will commence on April 1.
Non-emergency services WMAS operational delivery director, Michelle Brotherton, said: “Putting patient care first has always been our number one priority and we feel this new contract will allow us to provide the level of patient care we feel is appropriate.”
The funding will enable WMAS to run approximately 180,000 journeys a year. The valuable service will cater to elderly and disabled patients and provide vital transport links from their homes to hospital and treatment centres for appointments. The service was initially agreed until 2021, though the contract was terminated early last April with a 12 month notice period, in agreement with the clinical commissioning groups.
Demand for Transport Service
A statement outlined by both groups, highlighted the need for an increased service last May following the contract announcement. Therefore, additional funding would be required for the service to continue.
The statement said: “The clinical commissioning groups responsible for planning and buying healthcare for the people of Cheshire, Warrington and Wirral are committed to securing the best possible non-emergency patient transport service for their populations.
“WMAS has been providing an excellent service since July 2016 to service levels specified in a contract awarded jointly by the CCGs.
“During the period of contract, the specification changed due to developments in services, and both parties accepted that additional funding was required to ensure patients in Cheshire, Warrington and Wirral continues to get the highest quality of care.”
Unions in Favour
The new contract will allow WMAS to recruit even more employees and provide an extra 30 vehicles to its fleet.
Unions are in favour of the improved service. Stuart Gardner, GMB Union organiser and Stuart Gardner, staff side chair of Unison, said: “All trade unions are pleased that WMAS has retained the contract, and we look forward to continuing our work together on behalf of our members, staff and patients in Cheshire and the Wirral.”