Questions are to be asked in Parliament after MPs, councillors and unions demanded a formal investigation into the Coperforma scandal.

Coperforma was stripped of its £63 million, four-year contract to provide non-emergency patient care after just seven months in 2016.

The Argus has now revealed the debacle cost the NHS close to £1 million in out-of-pocket expenses in addition to providing woeful patient care.

The NHS has admitted it does not expect to recover money it paid drivers in salary and pension contributions, after Coperforma subcontractors failed to pay staff who, until months previously, were NHS employees.

Peter Kyle MP said: “When Parliament returns next week I will be asking questions of the health minister. When ambulance drivers and their union were expressing concerns about the contract I need to know why NHS bosses didn’t see problems ahead.

“We need a full post mortem.”

Green MP Caroline Lucas said: “With Coperforma now going bust, and taxpayers picking up an avoidable and unnecessary bill, a full formal investigation needs to take place, and those responsible for this shambles need to be held to account – which I will raise with the Minister.”

Councillor Daniel Yates, chairman of the city’s health and wellbeing board, said: “I think it’s the CCG’s job to publicise – as well as undertake – an inquiry into the whole saga and tell us what lessons they’re going to learn for future procurements.”

Gary Palmer, GMB union regional organiser said: “We questioned right from the start the CCG’s ability, and the people responsible should be held to account.

“The GMB would expect the CCGs to open their books in the public interest to show the total wasted on the combined Sussex PTS privatisation folly.”

Yesterday Wendy Carberry, head of the CCG which led the process which awarded the contract, was not available for interview.