Coperforma, the company which is handing back its Sussex patient transport contract, has said it is “disappointed” but has not commented on a critical inspection report.

Yesterday the lead commissioner for the contract, High Weald and Lewes Haven CCG, said South Central Ambulance Service Foundation Trust would gradually take over the contract over the next few months and have full control by April 2017.

Coperforma had provided the booking and organisation for patient transport services since April, with subcontractors providing the transport. However, it was heavily criticised for poor performance with patients left waiting for appointments and hospital staff having to stay late to finish treatments

Michael Clayton, chief executive of Coperforma, said today: “We are, of course, disappointed that we shall not be continuing to deliver the Sussex patient transport service contract in the longer term. This is particularly unfortunate for all the people in our company and contractors who have worked so hard, after a difficult start, to provide patients across the county with a much improved safe and reliable service.

“Talks are scheduled today with the commissioners to agree final terms and conditions to bring the contact to an end. In the meantime patients will continue to be our priority and we will be ensuring that there will be no interruption to the service.

“We are equally committed to work with the commissioners and the new providers to make sure that the transition process is efficiently completed in the best interests of all patients and NHS staff.”

Yesterday, the Care Quality Commissioner published its inspection for Coperforma. In July it found the company had no registered manager in place and two of its sites had not been registered as locations with the CQC. It served six improvement notices on the company.

Analysis: Commissioners have questions to answer over failed contract