Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Concerned Honiton Senior Voice members cry out over ‘privatisation of the NHS.’
Tensions ran high at Honiton Senior Voice’s latest meeting after members expressed their concerns over the recent ‘privatisation occurring within the NHS’.
The outcry followed the news that NSL, a company behind on-street parking and enforcement across the UK, was picked to take over non-urgent patient transport services in most of Devon and Cornwall from South Western Ambulance.
Neil Parish MP, Caroline Dawe of New Devon Clinical Commissioning Group and NSL account director Steve Roe were grilled by the members in a heated debate over NSL and the company’s reliability.
The organisation has recently come under fire in the press over recent mishaps and blunders, prompting a concerned response from Honiton Senior Voice.
Speaking at the meeting, Voice member Tony Simpson said he was ‘shocked’ over the things he read about the company on various news sites.
He said: “The public are very concerned over this decision.
“From what I read on the web, this is a private equity company, a company that used to run car parks and one that’s not paid their corporation tax for the last six years.
“It’s a sign that privatisation is happening even though David Cameron said it would not.”
The speech prompted a strong response from Neil Parish, who said the issue ‘was not a party political protest’.
However, he did say that he would personally take action if NSL wasn’t working well enough.
Addressing the group, he said: “It’s very early days to accuse this company of things it has not done.
“If it does not deliver, I will be the first one to take it on, but it’s unfair to hang someone for a crime they have not committed.
“We need to see how it goes before we go lambasting everyone.”
NSL’s Steve Roe assured the group that NSL would continue to provide the same amount of services to the public.
Speaking at the meeting, he said: “It is a broader service than was previously provided by the company (South Western Ambulance).
“A lot of the same experience is retained, and we have a lot of local knowledge.
“We will bring more staff and vehicles than what was originally provided, which should give a more efficient service.”