After nearly three years, a catalogue of failings, numerous damning inspection reports and countless complaints, somehow Thames Ambulance Service clings onto its patient transport contract in Lincolnshire.
Back in July 2016, the company secured the service for people who needed picking up for routine appointments and dropping off at hospital.
At the time, the firm ruled the roost across the region, providing the service in Scunthorpe, Grimsby and across the whole of the south of the county.
You could go anywhere and see passing ambulances with “TASL” printed in green lettering on the side.
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Things seemed in order for Thames, until the failings began to the creep to the surface.
Inspectors issued warning notices for poor performance, staff described the firm as “inept and disorganised” and patients were turning up late for appointments.
Health bosses began to face questions over their decision making.
Commissioners in the north of the county wasted little time in axing the company.
Yet in Lincolnshire, instead of terminating their contract, Thames were given another shot after they apologised in February 2018.
Since then, little has changed though. Thames have appointed a new chief executive and have assured that they are working hard to improve.
Derek Laird, CEO of the firm, said there is “much more work to do” in order for the company to deliver “high quality care that patients using our service should receive”.
But performance has not improved, something which councillors have noticed and said “enough is enough”.
Commissioners know this, but have their hands tied with winter pressures and the risks terminating a service brings during the brisk weather.
Meanwhile, health inspectors issued another damning report for the company this week, mounting pressure on officials to act.
There’s a feeling that something has got to give.
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