EMPLOYEES have expressed their outrage after losing their jobs with an ambulance service.

One worker from an ambulance station in Sussex accused managing company Thames Ambulance Service Limited (TASL) of not paying wages that are owed.

In 2105, patient transport service Coperforma was chosen for a non-emergency patient transport contract by the NHS High Weald Lewes Havens Clinical Commissioning Group.

But after several dialysis and chemotherapy patients revealed they had experienced delays in reaching appointments, the company admitted it had “badly let people down”.

After seven months of the contract the company was dissolved.

The South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) took over the role.

TASL is a private company commissioned by the NHS to assist with the transfer of patients. It has a base in Sheffield Park, Uckfield, which provides patient transfer services to Mid Sussex.

It was commissioned by Coperforma to carry out patient transfers in the area but since SCAS took over it has experienced decreased demand.

As a result, the company announced it ended its Sussex contract in July, including the closure of its Sussex base. Now it is reported more than 30 staff members have been made redundant in recent weeks.

One former employee, who said they lost their job about two weeks ago, said: “I have been fighting for £700 of pay for at least six months. They were worked hours.

“I have now been made redundant after years of working there. They have made 35 staff redundant.

“We care for people across Sussex but they have turned around and made 35 people redundant and not paid the wages they owe people.

“What they are doing will have an immense impact on patient waiting times.”

TASL has denied the allegations. A spokeswoman said: “There are a great number of untruths in the statements provided by this staff member. We adhere to all staff contracts and employees will receive everything they are legally entitled to in their final salary.”

The spokeswoman said it had to make the cuts to jobs following a breakdown in staff transfer negotiations with the SCAS.

Union GMB joined negotiations between TASL and SCAS in July in an attempt to seek a transfer for TASL staff “wishing to keep working to deliver patient transfer services” to the NHS trust.

But this has been unsuccessful. The TASL spokeswoman said: “Given the uncertainty and lack of a contract with SCAS, trying to recruit the appropriate management for the station has proved to be challenging.

“Many problems mentioned by this staff member are issues that were raised and addressed quite some time ago. All policies and procedures are followed correctly at all TASL bases.

“We truly regret that we have had to make our staff members redundant but find ourselves at the mercy of SCAS who we have been trying to negotiate with during the past 12 months.”

A statement from TASL’s project director Graham Briggs last month said discussions with SCAS to transfer staff began in 2018.

The TASL spokeswoman said: “TASL strongly believes that a transfer of undertakings and protection of employment would be the best option, and even offered SCAS a quarter of a million pounds to support and incentivise this staff transfer.

“This generous offer was turned down as were previous offers of cash plus the vehicles and use of our base.

“Like our employees, we are dismayed by SCAS’s decision. But TASL cannot continue to lose a significant amount of money on this operation.”

SCAS director of commercial services Paul Stevens said: “Having reviewed the offer and timelines from TASL we are unfortunately not in a position at this time to give any commitment to TASL staff on a transfer to SCAS.”