AN UNDER-FIRE patient transport company is investigating the death of an elderly man who died after his transport to hospital failed to arrive.

Sussex Defend the NHS said the elderly Brighton man died over the weekend.

The campaign group said in the days leading up to his death, transport arranged through contractor Coperforma failed to arrive, causing him to miss a hospital scan appointment.

His neighbour, Val Knight, told The Argus the man in his 80s had a CAT scan on his lungs booked for May 20 but the transport never arrived.

He was subsequently seen by his GP and a few days later was taken to hospital via emergency ambulance.

He died on Saturday, June 4.

Ms Knight said: “We can’t say categorically that the lack of ambulance led to his death but we do know it led to a huge amount of distress because basically he was drowning for the last few days of his life.

“We are all left wondering if the outcome would have been different if he had been taken for the scan he was booked in for.”

A spokeswoman for Coperforma said: “An investigation is under way into the precise circumstances surrounding the transport service experienced by this patient and his family.

“A report will be sent direct to the family once that is complete. Coperforma extends its sympathy to the family at this very sad time.”

Meanwhile those in charge of appointing the failing patient transport provider have admitted they do not know exactly how many patients have been let down.

Wendy Carberry, chief executive of the lead High Weald Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which appointed Coperforma to provide non-urgent patient transfer from April of this year, said: “We do get data through which tells us how many journeys have been completed and timeliness.”

When pressed for a number, her chief finance officer Alan Beasley added: “We’re not allowed to have raw data because of patient confidentiality.

“The data we’re getting is in percentages.”

The admission followed a meeting in Parliament where representatives of the CCGs including Ms Carberry met with MPs and representatives of Coperforma.

MP Huw Merriman has warned the company has been given until July to hit 95 per cent targets for timeliness.