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Private Morecambe 'Trust' Ambulance Service company liquidates without warning

Chris Satori

Up to 250 staff employed by Morecambe-based Trust Medical Service Ltd were told on Monday that they wouldn't be paid for the month as the company was going into liquidation without warning. The closure followed the same pattern as that of its founding director Craig Pyne's previous company, North West Safety Training Ltd, which went into liquidation without warning the day before payday in 2010, leaving staff in the lurch.  Trust Medical opened in the same premises with the same equipment and some of the same staff on the following Monday. It is reported that Pyne has had no involvement with the company for the last 6 months, although his directorship is still active. He and his co-directors, Abe Elkinson and Andrew McCann, have yet to comment on the closure. According to the company website the company is still trading and hiring, but its facebook page is unavailable. 

On Monday staff reported crews of this private ambulance contractor being left out on the road not knowing what was happening and with vulnerable patients to care for, unsupported by their organisation. A number of staff have reported being left unpaid, many already on low-paid zero-hours contracts. 

Trust Medical had a fleet of around 70 ambulances carrying out about 150,000 patient journeys a year. Their last CQC inspection in August 2017 found that "The information required to ensure directors were fit to be in their role was not available."

The closure will prove yet another challenge for stretched health services during their most difficult year yet. North West Private Ambulance Liaison Services Ltd, also of Morecambe, wish it to be known that they are operating as usual — and hiring. However, it isn't yet known how many patients had necessary journeys cancelled at short notice this week as a result of Trust Medical's abrupt closure. 

The closure highlights one of the systemic problems of private health contracting — the fact that a private company can fail and abandon its commitments to vulnerable patients, staff and to the public it is contracted to serve, without any warning being given, despite the fact that its operators must have been aware for some time that its situation was becoming critical.  

MP David Morris has not yet made any comment on the matter. Morris is known for his extreme and controversial denials that there are any problems with national or local health services at all.