Shadow Health Minister Andrew Gwynne joined Manchester Central candidate Lucy Powell, Manchester Council leader Sir Richard Leese, UNISON officials, and local patients and staff of the Patient Transport Service to fight the privatisation of Manchester’s ambulance services.
It has been announced that Arriva, a bus company, has been awarded preferred bidder status on a 3 year contract for non-emergency patient transport in Greater Manchester. The service provides non-urgent transport to and from hospital appointments for those with real medical needs.
Even though an in-house bid scored better on service quality, Arriva won the contract as the lowest priced option.
Andrew Gwynne MP said:
“It is shocking that the Tories are bringing their wretched privatisation experiment in health to Manchester. Our patient transport ambulance services are at the front line of health provision in Greater Manchester, yet Jeremy Hunt is clearly putting ideology first, with another bid failing to gain the contract despite being clearly better on quality.
“The Tories are letting down our healthcare professionals who work tirelessly to get around in our hours of greatest need. I hope they listen to our call to drop the plans, or we will see a clear drop in quality where it is needed most.”
Angela Rayner, UNISON North West region, said:
“The privatisation of non-emergency ambulance services in Greater Manchester is wrong and this week we have launched our campaign to stop it. This is an important service, for people with real medical needs. It is a disgrace that the winning bidder was not the provider with the highest standards, just the lowest cost.
“We know that privatisation is deeply unpopular with the public. Recent high profile privatisation failings have revealed just how badly things can go wrong – we don’t want patients in Manchester to suffer as a result of this decision.
“This is the worrying shape of things to come under the Tory health reforms that throw the doors wide open to private companies making a killing from our NHS.”