The Kent and Medway clinical commissioning groups are to put more money into patient transport services, despite the provider not meeting many performance targets.

G4S has been providing the £15m a year service since mid-2016 but demand for journeys has been significantly different from what was expected in the original contract.

There have been 14 per cent fewer car journeys than expected but 4 per cent more ambulance journeys, 9 per cent more patients who needed an escort and longer journeys than anticipated.

This has meant the contractor needs more vehicles and staff, Ian Ayres, managing director of the north and west Kent and Medway CCGs told Kent County Council’s health overview and scrutiny committee.

After a “true up” exercise to establish the real level of demand, the eight CCGs have agreed to a contract variation. Mr Ayres said he could not give a specific figure for the cost of this but it was less than 10 per cent of the contract value.

G4S has been failing to meet many of the original performance targets in the contract, in some months achieving less than half of the 95 per cent target for collecting patients ready for discharge within 60 minutes of the booked time.

Mr Ayres said that the targets were being adjusted to make them more graduated – previously, missing targets by five minutes was treated the same as missing them by five hours. The CCGs have not imposed financial penalties but they will start doing so once the variation was in place, he added.

However, councillors were unhappy with the revision of key performance indicators. One described the situation as “we are not scoring enough goals so let’s move the goalposts”. They added: “There’s an element of pragmatism that we recognise should be incorporated but we don’t want to see KPI drift.”

Some councillors wanted input into the KPIs but Mr Ayres said the contract was on the verge of being signed. He promised to present the new KPIs at a later meeting of the committee.