Ambulance firm which transported grandmother as she died is struck off
- Credit: Cygnet Hospital
A private ambulance firm which was carrying a Norfolk grandmother who died on the side of the M11 has been struck off by care watchdogs.
Peggy Copeman, of New Buckenham, died in December 2019 while being transported from a mental health hospital hundreds of miles away from her home back to Norfolk by Premier Rescue Ambulance Ltd. She was 81.
Now, two years after her death, the firm used to carry her from Cygnet Health Care's hospital Taunton in Somerset back to Norwich has been 'archived' by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) - meaning it can no longer legally operate.
It comes after the CQC had previously suspended the firm following an inspection in April 2021, which found its service to be inadequate.
The move has been welcomed by Nick Fulcher, Mrs Copeman's son-in-law, who questioned why it had taken two years for the decision to be made.
He said: "Peggy's treatment across the board was disgusting and it beggars belief that she was even transported in the condition she was in.
"We, as a family, are still devastated that we were robbed of the chance to say goodbye to Peggy - she was the kindest, loveliest person you could hope to meet and for her life to end the way it did is just disgraceful.
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"I do not know why it has taken two years to get to this point though."
Following its suspension in April, the firm was reinspected by the watchdog in September, which found that it had not addressed concerns raised when the restrictions were made.
The inspector found that the firm "continued to fail to provide assurance as to whether staff were trained as required" and that there "remained inadequate processes to determine the risk to patients who were transported".
A spokesman for the CQC said: "The service was deregistered on 29 December 2021 and is now listed on CQC’s website as ‘archived’. It was CQC’s decision to terminate the service.
"Regulated health and social care services need CQC registration to lawfully operate, so this service can no longer provide the regulated activities it was previously registered to provide for people."
Premier Rescue Ambulance Ltd, latterly known as Premier Mental Health Patient Transport Ltd, has been approached for comment.