PARAMEDICS and blue light drivers have lost their jobs because of a controversial new contract signed between independent ambulance providers. 

Emed recently lost its contract to run an independent ambulance service in Dorset to another independent ambulance company called HTG-UK. 

The contract to manage “unplanned ambulance discharges”, effective from Thursday, April 25, will see 19 redundancies, including five paramedics and five blue light drivers, the Echo understands. 

Emed work is mostly taking hospital patients home or to care homes, which contributes to freeing up beds in A&E. 

But staff at Emed said HTG-UK doesn’t provide the same level of services as the firm they are currently working at. 

Dorset Echo: An E-zec (former name of Emed) ambulance outside the Basepoint business centre on the Bournemouth airport siteAn E-zec (former name of Emed) ambulance outside the Basepoint business centre on the Bournemouth airport site


Tim Croucher, a paramedic of 35 years, is being made redundant and warned “people’s lives will be put at risk”.  

Another staff member, who asked for anonymity, said: “HTG don’t do complex moves and it will cause a massive bed block in the trusts. They don’t seem to realise how hard it will hit hospitals. 

“Lots of complaints have gone to the CQC that it wasn’t registered properly for six months.” 

According to the CQC, a comprehensive inspection of the ambulance providers must be done at least once every three years. 

HTG-UK was inspected in May 2019 and then again, almost four years later, in March 2023. 

Another staff member added: “If a provider failed, the ICB was given powers by the parliamentary NHS ombudsman go to any patient transport provider and ask to take over the contract. 

“And there is a part saying the provider must meet requirements in all areas, for example high dependency patients or larger people in and out of their home safely. HTG-UK doesn’t do this.”

A paramedic who is also being made redundant said he "worries for the safety of patients" and the impact the changes will have.

NHS Dorset said contracts awarded are subject to a “robust and transparent process” and any suggestion services will be different are “incorrect”. 

Dean Spencer, chief operating officer with NHS Dorset, said: “When awarding contracts whether it be to a new or existing provider, NHS Dorset adheres to a robust and transparent procurement process and also maintains a register of staff interests to ensure impartiality. 

“The new service provided by HTG-UK will be the same level as that provided by the previous provider and patients should notice very little difference.” 

HTG-UK's spokeswoman defended the transfer, saying it was done through the transfer of undertakings regulations, commonly known as TUPE. 

She said: “Consultations are currently ongoing with staff, in line with the requirements of the TUPE transfer process and we look forward to offering a warm welcome to new staff to the HTG-UK family on 25 April.  

“It is categorically untrue that all staff will lose their jobs. The vast majority of staff will transfer to HTG-UK through the TUPE process.  

“The requirements of new service have evolved slightly since the previous contract was issued. These changes impact a small number of staff.  

“HTG-UK is working closely with these staff and the process is governed by the legal protections of the TUPE process.  It would be inappropriate to comment further on this while consultations are ongoing.” 

CQC and Emed have been approached for a comment but did not respond.