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A DRIVER employed by a private ambulance operator was refused a coronavirus test despite displaying symptoms because it is too “expensive,” the GMB union said today.
The driver is employed by the HATS Group, which describes itself as “a leading provider of healthcare transport services with a reputation for professionalism and service excellence.”
HATS provides non-emergency patient transport for several NHS Trusts in London, including Croydon Health Services NHS Trust.
GMB said one driver exhibited symptoms of coronavirus, including a sore throat and no sense of taste and smell.
The union said: “He says he was not referred for Covid-19 testing at Croydon NHS because they are ‘expensive’.
“The driver is employed by outsourced company HATS, who hold the non-emergency patient transfer contract for the trust.
“He reported his manager said ‘tests are expensive’ and ‘everyone is going to get it anyway.’
“The worker expressed his concerns about spreading Covid-19 to his patients but says he feels under pressure to remain at work.”
GMB organiser Helen O’Connor said: “It is of great concern to GMB that this worker has not been immediately tested given he has Covid-19 type symptoms.
“This means he will struggle to get permission to self-isolate and protect others from harm.
“Once again serious questions must be asked about the failure of outsourced companies like HATS in their duty of care to workers, patients and the public.”
HATS Group had not responded to requests for comment at the time of going to press.
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