What are not highlighted are the terms and conditions for the drivers who do the work. The Canary has learned that Arriva’s staff remuneration package has recently been modified, apparently in a move to tackle staff retention and reporting standard accuracy. The paid drivers, on little more than the minimum wage, are the ones who deal with frail and dependent clients, requiring them to assess needs, ensure safety and provide care.
We could ask ourselves if this is appropriate for a national health care system. Staff bonuses may be an incentive, but on the basis of the number of complaints about the company’s services, failure to achieve peak performance impacts those who require such services. The issue is surely about their needs being met, not fulfilling the key performance indicators for shareholder profit.
PTS and patients
Patients requiring non-emergency transport to hospital appointments and check-ups are amongst the most vulnerable and dependent in society. Many are unlikely to be the best placed to provide service feedback via an app.
There is a clear mismatch of interests between a profit-generating transport provider and a publicly-funded service that works for the benefit of its users. An adequately prepared complaints department is no replacement for outsourced services that are driven by spurious arguments of austerity, so obviously countered by incentive payments.
Of course, those who suffer the consequences of poor services are not likely to be the most interested in whether the company meets its KPIs or not.
If you believe that patient transport services can be best provided by health care specialists rather than being outsourced to external companies for profit from public funds, you may wish to support the campaign to bring Manchester’s PTS back to the NHS and health care specialists.
Featured image via Flickr Creative Commons