THE NHS provider responsible for transporting patients to non-emergency hospital appointments is missing its targets.

The South Central Ambulance Service took over from disastrous Coperforma in April of last year.

Performance is better than the nadir of provision under Coperforma, but next week’s meeting of the city council’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee will hear there is still some way to go.

Meanwhile, the NHS has been criticised for not coming clean on the true, full cost of the Coperforma debacle.

Healthwatch Brighton and Hove will present the results of its survey of the Patient Transport Service users to the committee, which includes:

lCollection of patients within an hour 73.5 per cent against a target of 80 per cent.

lThe number of patients picked up within 60 minutes has gone down since September and it is also 11 per cent down on the figure at the end of Coperforma’s tenure.

lCollection of patients who do not have a planned discharge time, within two hours, was 75.5 per cent against a target of 90 per cent.

David Liley, chief executive of Healthwatch Brighton and Hove, told The Argus: “SCAS have a fantastic result in terms of patient satisfaction scores, I take my hat off to them, they must be doing something right.

“But their own performance figures are not impressive.

“On a number of key measures they seem to be on a bit of a slippery slope - it’s up to them to explain. They’ve been slipping since last summer.

“Secondly there are key things which have consistently been a problem for patients, under Secamb, under Coperforma, and now under SCAS.

“It’s a £62.5 million contract, it’s not good enough for them to come up with excuses - you’ve got sixty million quid, go and fix it.”

The meeting will also hear the watchdog is unhappy with a lack of transparency over the cost of Coperforma’s tenure.

The Healthwatch report reads: “The failure of Coperforma to deliver the service and the early termination of its contract, will deliver a cost the NHS which has not yet been shared publicly.”

Mr Liley said: “It’s very disappointing, I was assured by the combined CCGs in the summer of 2016 at this committee that there’d be a frank and open exploration of the financial implications of what had been a serious service failure. And we haven’t seen it. The NHS can’t always be saying to the public and watchdogs ‘well, look at our published accounts’, we’re not forensic accountants.