Andy Burnham MP backs campaign to stop ambulance privatisation

The shadow secretary of state for health, Andy Burnham MP has given his backing to a UNISON campaign to prevent ambulance services in Greater Manchester being run by a private company.

On a visit to meet ambulance staff, patients, and community volunteers in Manchester yesterday, Mr Burnham criticised the decision by NHS commissioners not to keep the ambulance transport service in NHS hands and endorsed UNISON’s stop ambulance privatisation campaign. He said that commissioners were taking an “unacceptable risk” by taking the Ambulance Patient Transport Service (PTS) out of NHS hands in favour of a private provider.

The contract for Manchester’s ambulance patient transport services has been awarded to the Arriva bus company. Arriva’s ambulance transport services in Leicestershire were inspected by the Care Quality Commission in September 2012 and found not to be meeting standards in staffing, cleanliness, infection control, safeguarding people who use services from abuse, care and welfare of people who use services, and assessing and monitoring the quality of service provision.

Arriva is due to take over the running of the ambulance patient transport service in March 2013.

An online petition against privatisation of Manchester’s ambulance transport service has attracted over 4,500 signatures in the past three weeks.

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UNISON in the north west