Ambulance Trust Sought Millions in Compensation

An ambulance trust sought millions in compensation from commissioners following what it described as horrendous handover delays.

This claim formed part of the local contract negotiations for 2017-18.

The West Midlands Ambulance Service Trust has been locked in talks with all 22 clinical commissioning groups in the West Midlands in an attempt to resolve the matter.

This was confirmed by director for clinical commissioning and service development, Mark Docherty.

Docherty conceded that CCGs in the region had refused to compensate the trust for patient handover delays at local hospitals.

And the healthcare boss stated that situation is completely unacceptable for patients.

Emergency departments run by Worcestershire Acute Trust and Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust apparently accounted for the biggest proportion of long delays, according to Doherty.

“The point [the trust] was making to CCGs in this contracting round is we cannot afford to have delays in the system, we don’t want them, but if they’re there we need to be recompensed for them. We didn’t get agreement from CCGs, so we’ve had to go down the mediation route; that is very regrettable because it is the first time we’ve had to go down that route and effectively the mediation did bring us extra income but not in the way we would’ve liked. We would’ve liked a direct link between costs and delay because we felt that would drive improvement,” Docherty commented.

CCGs in the region asserted that delivering at the request of the ambulance trust would result in severe financial difficulties.

Yet the fiscal wrangling has led to delays for patients that have been described by the CCG boss as completely unacceptable.

“Quite frankly there are some horrendous delays. It is unacceptable for patients. It’s not like every hospital is bad. Within this region we’ve got about 22 hospital departments, most of them manage to keep delays to a minimum but there’s probably four that account for the largest proportion of our long delays. Within our region it’s Shrewsbury, Telford, Worcestershire and Redditch,” Docherty asserted.

Commenting on the issue, a spokeswoman from Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG outlined the position of the clinical commissioning group.

“The West Midlands CCGs have supported West Midlands Ambulance Service’s ambitions to progress such schemes as accelerated rollout of electronic patient record, pilot sites for the ambulance response programme and supported a sustainability and transformation fund application, with the intention of increasing ambulance efficiency to improve response times and to have resource available to respond to 999 calls. In doing so commissioners therefore removed their right to any withholdings relating to underperformance, which has resulted in significant resource being available to the trust.”

NHS trusts accumulated a collected deficit in the region of £2.5 billion in the most recent financial year.


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