Patient Transport Service Mobilisation & Readiness

The North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust (NWAS) will be the provider of non-emergency patient transport service in the four counties of Lancashire, Cumbria, Cheshire and Merseyside for 3 years from the 1st April 2013.  A commercial provider will provide this service in the Greater Manchester area from the 1st April 2013 until the 31st March 2016 and NWAS will work with them to ensure a smooth transition.  Numerous quality improvements have been built into the new NWAS contract as a result of feedback from patients and other stakeholders.

The new contract focusses on the quality of service for all patients, highlighted in our first Patient Transport Charter.  An enhanced patient experience will be delivered through increased quality standards, particularly around the journey waiting and collection times and a new workforce plan which will provide a flexible service that meets the needs of patients.  A new operating model is being introduced which will involve us working in co-operation with other providers and full and consistent use of eligibility criteria will ensure those who need the service have access to it.  Signposting information to other transport solutions will also be available for those who do not meet the eligibility criteria.

Service improvements will include the introduction of new Freephone telephony numbers, communication of next patient journey notification to patients/carers and improvements to the online booking processes used by Healthcare Professionals.  The latest mobile data systems will be employed to provide information on patient progress times.  In addition an enhanced service will be provided for regular users of the service: haemodialysis and cancer patients.  Patient transport will be available for haemodialysis patients to cater for appointments up until 7.30pm and collection up until 1.00am.  A revised escalation procedure will be implemented to assist when problems occur.

A Communications and Engagement plan has been developed to provide a framework for NWAS and its Commissioners to engage with all stakeholders to support the mobilisation of the new patient transport service.  This will include a variety of approaches including face to face meetings, briefings, leaflets and a dedicated patient transport service website.