HEALTH chiefs hope to find a replacement provider for non-emergency patient transport by October after West Midlands Ambulance Service tore up its contract.

The service held a contract to run non-emergency transport across Cheshire, Warrington and the Wirral until 2021, but it handed in 12 months’ notice to end that agreement in May.

In a report presented to NHS Eastern Cheshire clinical commissioning group’s governing body on Wednesday, Jerry Hawker, chief officer, said the deadline for tendering is on September 7 – and a new provided should be chosen the following month.

He said: “It is anticipated that a preferred provider will be identified by October, contract award will be in November 2018, giving a four to five-month mobilisation period leading up to the successful bidder commencing service delivery at the start of April 2019.”

Neil Evans, commissioning director at the CCG, added that the winning bidder could come from the public or voluntary sector, or it could be a logistics or transport firm from the private sector.

Arriva currently runs a similar service for NHS patients in some parts of England, including Birmingham, Swindon and Bath