Angela Rayner MP is asking police to investigate how £1.5 million was incorrectly paid to a private company which took over ambulance services in Greater Manchester.
Angela, Labour MP for Ashton-under-Lyne, says she was 'horrified and appalled' to hear that Arriva Transport Solutions had claimed the money after "overstating" its performance in running non-emergency ambulances for patients across Greater Manchester.
Angela, who led the campaign three years ago by the public service trade union, UNISON against privatisation of the ambulance service, says police must now investigate how public money was wrongly paid over.
She said:"It is deeply worrying and the public of Greater Manchester will want to know whether any fraudulent activity was carried out by the company in claiming more than £1.5 million.
"We warned at the time that such an important public service was not safe in the hands of the private sector, who are driven by profit instead of patient care.
"There is no accountability to the public or transparency when a private company runs a public service. That's why, with such huge sums of public money involved, a police investigation needs to be carried out into what happened and why.
"As a result of the company's failings, the public in Greater Manchester were repeatedly misled about the performance of the Arriva privatised ambulance service. It is a very grave matter.
"I find it incredible that more than £1.5 million could have been wrongly claimed by the company and health chiefs only found out when the company disclosed it last month.
"This is money which our NHS can ill afford to lose at a time of cut-backs and closures.
"I believe this is now a matter for the police. I do not know whether any criminal offence has been committed by anyone, but it is clearly something that should be seriously investigated to discover if their has been any fraudulent activity or wrongdoing."
The campaigning MP is writing to Greater Manchester's new chief constable, Ian Hopkins, asking him to investigate in conjunction with the Lancashire police force, who have jurisdiction over Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group, which commissioned the service from Arriva on behalf of health chiefs in Greater Manchester.
The company has now repaid the money and withdrawn its bid to continue running the ambulance service when the multi-million contract runs out next year.
Patients have continually complained that Arriva ambulances were late for appointments and that patients needs and traffic flows were not being properly taken into account.