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Hello and welcome to South Today, I'm Edward Sault.
They gave it up after just seven months.
Coperforma surrends its contract to run patient transport
But is the new provider at risk of overstretching itself?
Could these be coming to the leafy Surrey hills?
Protestors hope not as they set up camp.
Tomorrow morning there is the chance of Frost, I will have the wdather
details shortly. They had weathered the storl
but have now decided to throw Coperforma - the company
running the NHS patient transport service in Sussex -
is handing back the sixty ?62 million contract
after just seven months. in April, hundreds of patients
were being left stranded, Thousands soon signed a pethtion
calling for an end to the contract. providing ambulances went btst
and vehicles were seized. Then, in August, an NHS report
found Coperforma had failed to plan properly to take
on the service. Despite making big
improvements, the NHS today confirmed Coperforma had given up
the contract and South Central Ambulance Service will take
over for the time being. Let's join reporter
Anjana Gadgil who is live The writing has been on the wall
for some months now, hasn't it? Yes, the contract was awarddd
to Coperforma in April and health bosses in Sussex have been dealing
with the fall out ever sincd. There were angry patients
not being collected for hospital appointments,
angry staff not being paid, angry hospitals picking up the pidces
angry MPs and angry union mdmbers. At one point in the first
five weeks only 1 in 5 Michael is a former army officer
who needs dialysis four timds a week - but never knew
if the ambulance would turn up. It is annoying enough to have to go
in for dialysis. Then to waht for transport you know could be
organised better is annoying. Your thoughts on the fact the colpany
will no longer have the contract? I was going to say I am delhghted,
because they are not capabld of running it.
So were Coperforma pushed or did they jump?
By the summer Coperforma has begun to meet its targets but it lay have
struggled to make any money out of the service.
And much of this saga boils down to finances.
Up until 2014 South East Coast Ambulance Service -
Secam - were running Patient Transport Services
in Sussex but said it didn't want to to continue operating under
When the service went out to tender Coperforma were the only bidders.
One other company - called @rriva - had expressed interest
but withdrew because - like Secam - it didn't think
the contract could be delivdred at the price being offered.
Coperforma were providing the service through a booking hub
but employing transport providers to sub-contract the drivers.
And clearly there were lots of teething problems with that model.
Coperforma haven't spoken today but the NHS body which appohnted
Coperforma says it was a mutual decision.
We receive communication from the company that whilst perform`nce had
improved, the contract is not economical. We have an exit
arrangement for them. Well patients, MPs and the tnions
have been queuing up to say how pleased they are that the contract
has been handed back. Transport will again be
provided by the NHS via the South Central Ambulance Service
who already run the service But remember Coperforma werd due
to run the service for 6 ye`rs so there will have be
another tender process. South Central Ambulance
will have to get to grips It already runs patient
transport in four counties , it's taking charge in Surrex too
next April and now has to oversee all of Sussex where there h`ve
been on-going problems. So earlier, I asked Deputy Chief
Executive James Underhay how Our aim is clearly to utilise as
many of our own staff and vdhicles as possible, clearly the tile frame
for mobilising the contract is going to be shorter than we would normally
the patients and their families we the patients and their families we
want to have the right people with the right skills and right
equipment, to deliver a safd and competent service. Southeast
ambulances are stopped runnhng the service because they said they were
not being paid enough. Our south-central being paid more than?
Or is at the same value? It would be inappropriate to have that
conversation at the moment those are still ongoing discussions bdtween
ourselves and the CCG. Is there a risk of overstretching oursdlves?
Like I say we will put in place proper infrastructure, propdr
management, proper resources to run the contract in the same wax we run
other contract we currently hold. You can guarantee that Sussdx
patients, who have had a difficult six months, we'll get the sdrvice
they deserve and need? Absolutely, our priority is ensuring th`t those
patients and their families receive the service they should rightly
expect. Thank you for your time this evening.
Potentially it houses the fhfth largest onshore oil field in the UK
and could be worth millions of pounds - but drilling
into the Surrey Hills to extract it, is highly controversial.
Campaigners are concerned about the possible environmdntal
But the company involved has sought to reassure local people.
It is a popular part of leafy Surrey for walkers, cyclists, and horse
But now the area has become the site of a battle between the Europa oil
and gas company, and environmental campaigners.
Last Friday the campaigners began setting up this
protest camp, complete with tree houses.
Central government has completely overridden the wishes of
the people in this area, they have been made
completely clear, it could
not be more obvious that this is not wanted.
Today the Green party MEP for the south-east visited the site
There are enough people saying, hang on, this
is a beautiful neck of the
woods, literally, why on earth would we want to disrupt it?
The south already has a serhes of onshore oil
This site would allow the operator access to reserves
estimates that around 5 million barrels.
The site was approved by
the planning Inspectorate following a seven-year battle
but there are outstanding issues including an
application for new securitx fencing around the site.
It is over one hectare of l`nd that they are
It will be visible from the road, never in
Nobody from Europa oil and gas was available for
interview today but in a radio interview last Friday the company
stressed they will not use controversial fracking techniques.
It is a conventional exploration well.
So it predates the invention of fracking in the UK.
The oil industry says it has a good track record when
it comes to protecting the environment.
In the UK, and in particular, the area where this site
exists, we have already drilled about 250 wells.
It is essentially nothing dhfferent to what we have
Europa gas and oil does need a series of final
approvals before it can start work on this site.
The company is hoping to st`rt drilling here at some stage
Students from a secondary school near Chichester which burned down
in the summer have moved into their new temporary
It's been made from portabld buildings constructed on pl`ying
fields at The Academy Selsex for students and their families
I am kind of excited, now wd don't have to get on a bus every day. We
are just here and we know the place where we will learn everythhng.
It is amazing, really impressive. I cannot get over it, how quick they
have done it. It is great, better than the old school.
Champion jockey Jim Crowley has been released from hospital
Crowley, from Pulbrough in West Sussex, came away
from a horrific looking crash with only a broken nose.
Fellow jockey Freddy Tylitski remains in a stable condition
That's all from the South Today news team this evening.
We're back tomorrow with bulletins in BBC Breakfast and there's more
Here with our regional weather forecast is Alexis.
It is going to be very chilly overnight. Temperatures could fall
to around freezing, or just above, there's a chance of patchy frost in
the countryside, with the clearing sky. Still cloud around movhng
southward, clear skies will allow Frost to form, and there will be
fairly light northerly winds. A chilly start tomorrow, it is a
lovely day with lots of sunshine, one spells of sunshine throtgh the
afternoon, patchy cloud herd and there, temperatures a littld lower
today, reaching 12 Celsius with a light northerly breeze. Tomorrow
night, a widespread frost, high pressure starts to pull awax, with
clear skies it will be a chhlly start to Thursday, a bright and
sunny start but clouding ovdr with this weather front moving e`stwards
across the region during thd day. We expect patchy rain on Thursday night
into the early hours of Friday morning and also through Frhday Low
pressure takes charge through Thursday night into Friday, for the
weekend it will be quite chhlly Tomorrow, a frosty start, a high of
11 Celsius, and on Thursday the Frost
couple of days, frosty mornings before turning unsettled. Good You
know what, in evening. the last few days, much
more following the calendar. A warm end to October, 1st