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‘Absolutely disgusting’ - Suffolk family slams patient transport service after contract lost by NHS

PUBLISHED: 20:42 16 April 2018 | UPDATED: 16:55 17 April 2018

David and Gill Snowling. Picture: GREGG BROWN

David and Gill Snowling. Picture: GREGG BROWN

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A private ambulance firm has apologised to a Suffolk family just two weeks after taking over a contract from the NHS, admitting care “fell well below” standards.

A picture of Reg Snowling, who is currently a resident Barking Hall Nursing Home. Picture: GREGG BROWNA picture of Reg Snowling, who is currently a resident Barking Hall Nursing Home. Picture: GREGG BROWN

David Snowling, from Sproughton, has slammed the treatment of his 97-year-old father Reg as “absolutely disgusting”.

E-zec Medical Transport Service, an independent family-run company, took over responsibilty for non-emergency patient transport services (NEPTS) in Suffolk from the East of England NHS Ambulance Service (EEAST) on April 1.

NEPTS are for patients whose physical or mental condition means they are unable to travel to routine NHS appointments without the support of trained staff or specialist equipment.

On Wednesday, E-zec was requested to take Reg, who uses a wheelchair and lives with dementia and Parkinson’s disease, from Barking Hall Nursing Home near Needham Market to Ipswich Hospital for an x-ray.

The company enlisted a third party contractor to do the job.

David and his wife Gill were shocked by the care Reg received.

They said the vehicle used “wasn’t fit for purpose” as there were no facilities to transport Reg in his wheelchair so he had to be moved into a seat.

The couple said the attitude of the crew was poor, with one allegedly commenting: “I will be glad when this is over and we can get back to our own area”.

Reg was taken to the wrong department and he ended up late for his appointment.

David said: “It was absolutely disgusting.”

Gill added: “He’s not a well man and to be stuck in an ambulance like that and treated like that is not on. We would have taken him ourselves but he’s so frail he needs an ambulance.”

Wayne Spedding, director of operations at E-zec, said he had written to the family to “apologise unreservedly”.

He added: “The ambulance crew that took [Reg] to Ipswich Hospital was provided by a third-party contractor.

“A limited number of third party contractors have been engaged to support the transition of the NEPTS contract which E-zec commenced on April 1.

“Unfortunately, the quality of care extended to Mr Snowling, and the conduct of the crew which attended to him, fell well below the standards we expect.

“As a result the contractor in question has been removed from our approved provider list with immediate effect.

“The use of third party providers will reduce rapidly as E-zec progresses into the NEPTS contract.”

After losing the contract, EEAST boss Robert Morton hit out and said NHS trusts were best placed to deliver NEPTS.

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