Troubled private ambulance transport service will not bid for new contract in Northamptonshire

Photo by Mark Lindsay
Photo by Mark Lindsay

A much-criticised private company that ferried Northamptonshire people to hospital appointments will not seek to extend its contract.

NSL Ltd took over the service from the NHS in July 2012, but has been beset by bad publicity, including elderly patients waiting up to 12 hours, the closure of its Northampton control room, and attempts by the company to alter the contract, which it had claimed was ‘unsustainable’.

The company has now told staff it is not interested in winning any new patient transport contracts, which effectively means it will stop taking Northamptonshire patients after March 2017.

A spokesman for NSL said: “We have taken the strategic decision not to bid any new patient transport contracts for the foreseeable future.

“For our existing patient transport contracts, such as Northamptonshire, it remains very much business as usual. We remain fully committed to delivering the best possible customer experiences for the full duration of the current contract.”

NSL staff who the Chron has spoken to said they were hopeful that East Midlands Ambulance Service would take over.

The news comes as NSL’s contract for Derbyshire patients draws to an end, with the NHS’s East Midlands Ambulance Service named as the frontrunner for the contract.

EMAS did not deny it would be interested in taking over the Northamptonshire service, particlarly as the continuity when it was NHS-run saw many non-emergency ambulance staff become emergency paramedics.

A spokeswoman for EMAS said: “We were pleased to have been named as the preferred bidder for the Derbyshire PTS contract and will look forward to future opportunities to further expand our service across the East Midlands.”