A county councillor has called for Lincolnshire to be given its own ambulance service.
The call comes after the service currently in charge Thames Ambulance Service Limited (TASL), which is commissioned by the West Clinical Commissioning Group, received an unanimous vote of no confidence from a health scrutiny committee.
TASL is responsible for the non-emergency patient transport for the county – and has admitted it isn’t delivering the highest quality of performance.
Issues over call handling, journey planning, not collecting patients at the booked time, delays in patient’s discharge from hospital and an increase in the number of complaints to the clinical commissioning group were all discussed at the meeting.
Speaking afterwards to BBC Radio Lincolnshire, Cllr Sue Woolley, of Lincolnshire County Council said she believes it’s time the county was given the opportunity to take control of the service.
She said: “Lincolnshire County Council view Lincolnshire county ought to have an ambulance of its own, both emergency one and a non-emergency one.
“We know our county best. We know how to provide services in our county, so let us get on with it.”
In a statement after the verdict Chairman of the Health Scrutiny Committee for Lincolnshire, Cllr Carl Macey, said: “Many of the councillors on the committee, have received complaints about Thames Ambulance Service from local residents and the volunteer drivers, as have Healthwatch Lincolnshire. We have heard accounts of serious delays, patients missing appointments, patients failing to be collected and frankly abysmal treatment of people who volunteer their time to transport patients around the county.
“The committee have serious concerns about how this service is being run and, despite an improvement plan being put in place, we have no confidence that improvements will be made to deliver the service that our residents deserve.”
In a report published by the BBC, TASL admitted they ‘were letting patients’ down but confirmed they were putting plans in place to rectify this such as the employment of patient experience officers.
As part of the meeting, TASL will also be required to provide monthly updates on the performance of the non-emergency service.
Graham Briggs, of Thames Ambulance Service, said: “We really regret the historical position of the last four months where we’ve not been able to provide the service patients deserve. We are doing a lot to improve, and we continue to improve.”