A new NHS procurement agency has been accused of attempting a 'back-door privatisation' of East Midlands Ambulance Service trust.

A new NHS procurement agency has been accused of attempting a 'back-door privatisation' of East Midlands Ambulance Service trust.

The GMB union says the East Midlands collaborative procurement hub, a new agency set up to buy services and supplies for NHS trusts, threatens to dismantle the service by putting out a tender to privatise non-urgent patient transport services (PTS) in the East Midlands.

GMB regional organiser Andy Fletcher said: 'NHS trusts are effectively trying to downgrade a service which is at present driven by quality performance and patient needs?to a service which is not based on clinical need but driven by money.'

It says PTS should remain within the ambulance service, 'not a bolt-on inferior product'.

East Midlands Ambulance Service confirmed that the hub would shortly be inviting tenders for the provision of non-emergency patient transport services, adding that the trust 'will be competing for this tender'.

A Department of Health spokesperson said it was for primary care trusts to decide who provides patient transport services for eligible patients in their area.