Local Democracy Weekly: Councillors want health bosses to dump Thames

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It was a rather pleasant meeting and all seemed to be going well for Thames Ambulance service on Wednesday — then councillors voted to kick them out.

The route of the meeting seemed to rapidly change in the space of 30 seconds, as Lincolnshire County Councillor Carl Macey and the health scrutiny committee seemed to be nodding their heads and accepting the reasons given for poor performance from TASL.


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Mike Casey, general manager, reassured them that data recording would soon be under control, that there was a strong work-plan in place and that staff and volunteers were wanting to work for the company.

But it was as the agenda item was summing up that Cllr Macey turned around and said he had “no confidence” in the company, that it was “at its lowest point” and that Lincs West CCG, which contracts it, should exit that very arrangement.

It’s not as simple as it seems however, as issues with TASL have been bubbling under the surface for just under a year, with them first appearing before LCC in February, seeming to show improvement as the year went on and then – it appears – falling at the last hurdle.

It’s not been a great year for the service – with North Lincolnshire also dropping its contract in May, and announcing a replacement for Thames in October.

Could this be a shot across the bow to contract holders that they now need to keep their standards up?

Earlier this year LCC renewed its own five-year contract with Serco, which has been beset with its own issues as it provides services including IT, payroll, HR, customer services, and adult care finance for the authority. Maybe this is LCC leaders saying “enough, is enough”?