THE provider of non-emergency patient transport services could change hands after the contract was put out to tender.

The East of England Ambulance Service, who currently provides the service, has a long-standing relationship with the NHS Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board.

Its crews make more than half a million journeys every year, taking patients who are frail or need specialist assistance to and from hospital appointments.

A spokesman for the integrated care board said: “The award of the contract to deliver patient transport services across Suffolk and north-east Essex is still ongoing, and details will be made available soon.”

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The contract could be awarded to a private ambulance firm if officials decide to pull it from the ambulance service.

The East of England Ambulance Service has been approached for comment but declined to comment at this stage.

In addition to the patient transport service, the ambulance service also has a team of volunteer car drivers who provide an ambulance car service, driving patients whose conditions allow them to sit in a car to their medical appointments across the east of England and further afield.