Volunteer thinks he’s blacklisted

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A volunteer hospital driver believes he’s been virtually blacklisted for speaking publicly about a cut in mileage allowances.

Whistleblower Allan Harvey (71) says his hospital runs have almost dried up since he was quoted in the press about reduced rates paid by NSL Care Services.

Around 34 volunteer drivers withdrew their services for a week earlier this month in protest at NSL’s mileage rate dropping from 40p to 25p a mile once they complete 10,000 miles.

Mr Harvey would normally do between three and six runs a week, but has had one call this week and one last.

He said: “What’s happened now is I am persona non grata because I have had my name in the papers.”

Mr Harvey says other drivers he’s spoken to are getting their usual number of runs.

“I don’t believe in coincidences when I have been doing this job for three years,” he said. “They can’t get enough drivers.”

Speaking yesterday, Mr Harvey said: “When I phoned up this morning, they said ‘you are not down, you are not on the list’.

“I have always been on the list so why am I not on the list?”

NSL drivers from South Holland and Boston agreed at a meeting at the end of July to take a week of action by not being available to work.

Mr Harvey said: “Up to the time we had the meeting, I was working three days a week – morning and afternoon – and suddenly it more or less stops because my name and photo appeared in the paper.”

Drivers are paid an additional 5p per mile per passenger on top of the 40p and 25p mileage rates, but Mr Harvey says volunteers can’t afford to run their cars at the 25p rate.

He said four years ago the AA had reported that it cost 65.13p per mile to run a car.

NSL was asked why Mr Harvey’s work was drying up and if he had been blacklisted.

NSL spokesman Dr Belinda Webb said: “We are not in a position to comment on individual volunteers, however, we are proud of our volunteer drivers who perform a fantastic and not-for-profit service for patients; as anyone would expect, NSL is required to have a code of conduct for volunteers, to ensure reliability, and by the nature of volunteering will consider if the volunteer meets particular standards.”