PERFORMANCE: Clinical commissioning groups in Sussex have ordered an independent inquiry into the troubled start of a new patient transport service.

Coperforma took over the running of the service from South East Coast Ambulance Service Foundation Trust on 1 April and uses subcontractors to take non-urgent patients to and from hospitals.

However, since the new service went live patients have been picked up late – or not at all – causing disruption for hospitals, especially when dialysis or chemotherapy treatments are involved. Hospital staff have had to stay late to ensure patients get treatment and, in some cases, have resorted to ordering taxis to take patients home.

High Weald Lewes Havens CCG, which was the lead commissioner, has asked TIAA, a provider of assurance services to the public sector, to carry out the review. It has asked for a draft of the final report to be available for review by mid June.

The inquiry will cover the transition and mobilisation of the contract from South East Coast Ambulance to Coperforma.

The CCG said it is supported by all organisations involved but has not said whether the report will be made public.