HSJ’s round-up of the day’s biggest health policy stories

Transport trouble

London hospital trusts have been forced to bring patient transport services in house or re-tender them as incumbent firms exit the market.

Barts Health Trust in east London has confirmed it is bringing its patient transport contract in house after provider ERS stopped providing the service. ERS is owned by American firm SRCL and also ran services across the east of England and Yorkshire.

The company had been running the service since July 2014. In its most recent board papers, the trust said its in-house provision, which began in October, was cheaper.

London North West Healthcare Trust, which serves a population of more than 700,000 people from three hospital sites in outer London, was hit by the collapse of Essex based firm Private Ambulance Service last month.

The NHS patient transport market in London is thought to be worth more than £50m a year.

Patient transport services have proved contentious this year, with the Care Quality Commission raising concerns about the operation of a large contract in Sussex.

Similar services saw a pay dispute in Hull in May.

Not all right on the Isle of Wight

NHS England has issued legal directions to a clinical commissioning group that is struggling to deliver its savings plan.

Isle of Wight CCG has been instructed to develop a “clinical and financial sustainability plan” by February and a “capability and capacity review” must also be commissioned.

It comes a month after Helen Shields, the CCG’s chief officer, announced she will retire in February.

The £210m budget CCG, which is forecasting to break even this financial year, is struggling to deliver savings worth £12.9m – 6 per cent of its allocation.

The savings target for 2017-18 is nearly three times higher than the level usually achieved.

Meanwhile, Isle of Wight Trust has made its interim chief executive a permenant appointment. The trust, which was placed in special measures earlier this year, initially hired Maggie Oldham in May.