"NHS & private ambulance services need one another to exist" Closer working relationship predicted, conference told

Thursday, 13 September, 2012

The NHS and private ambulance services are both complementary and competitive and neither can afford to survive without the other, a healthcare professionals conference was told in Nottingham today (13 September 2012)

David Davis, Director of Communications of the Independent Ambulance Association, told delegates that private ambulance services were complementary "as providers of a range of different patient transport services; it is estimated that around 50% of all NHS hospital transfers are today carried out by independent ambulances and there is increasing demand for special services such as bariatric and HDU assignments as well as support of A&E departments.

"In the same vein they are in increasingly tough competition with the NHS for major £multi-million PTS contracts. In these days of tough economic times and constraint on public spending, winning - or losing - these tenders has even greater implications for both their very future existence"

The cold fact is that both need each other to exist...

-NHS ambulance trusts need to call up the resources of the private sector, largely for non emergency patient transfer work to enable them to meet the demand for emergency ambulances;

-Equally, independents need the large NHS contracts, to stay in business, to meet shareholders expectations, to justify continuing investment in modernizing their fleets and introducing new operational technology.

"In practice that will mean putting aside differences and having mutual recognition of each other's professional skills in order to collaborate in the best interests of the patient." he added.

Looking ahead Davis predicted that in 5 years England will have a national ambulance service bringing together as business partners the best skills and resources of the NHS and the independent sector.

"This is neither a pipedream nor is it a reality but the reforms of the state health service now make the prospects of a closer working relationship between the two not only more of a possibility than ever before but a necessity.

"Just a few years ago it would have been inconceivable, even to have thought about such a situation but now healthcare industry watchers see it is as one possible future outcome of the reforms,"

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