North West Ambulance Service make changes to Patient Transport service

North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust has begun to deliver its new Patient Transport service contracts, providing non-emergency transport in Lancashire along with Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cumbria.

North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust undertakes approximately 1.2 million non-emergency journeys every year and has four Contact and Control centres in Preston, Carlisle, Oldham and Chester.

Ian Stringer, Head of Patient Transport Services, said: “This is a major time of change for NWAS’ patient transport service with work being done to improve almost every area of the service from streamlining our online booking service and consistent use of eligibility criteria, to using the latest technology on our vehicles and providing opportunities for regular engagement with patients.

“We are also delighted to be able to provide an enhanced service to regular service users with specialist needs; our cancer and renal dialysis patients, by increased service operating hours, a more flexible service with dedicated Freephone telephone numbers and a better escalation process if things go wrong.”

Allan Jude, Director of Ambulance Commissioning, Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group, commented: “The new contracts provide numerous quality improvements and ensure patients who need assistance and transport can receive a service that is both timely and of high quality.”

Healthwatch Lancashire has gathered a considerable amount of intelligence from people in Lancashire relating to Patient Transport, which was shared with the Care Quality Commission for their recent inspection

Neil Greaves, Communications Manager at Healthwatch Lancashire, said: “Healthwatch Lancashire has listened to a large number of people’s experiences relating to how they access services and this includes Patient Transport. It is important that we continue to listen to the views from people in Lancashire to see the impact that these changes will make and to ensure that people have the opportunity to shape the way services are delivered.”

Healthwatch Lancashire also published a Your Care and Getting There report in March 2016, which was based on the findings from a survey undertaken by 742 residents of Lancashire to identify issues relating to how they get to appointments in primary care services which include GPs, dentists, health centres and pharmacies.

The report showed that across Lancashire, 88% of people said that they find getting to their appointment convenient whilst 15.6% of people said that they have had to cancel appointments due to transport issues. Experiences of those using Patient Transport, along with community transport services, were included in the report.

The full report can be viewed here.