‘Positive changes’ made to Sussex patient transport service

South Central Ambulance Service runs the patient transport service for Sussex
South Central Ambulance Service runs the patient transport service for Sussex

Non-emergency Patient Transport Services (PTS) across Sussex continues to improve, according to a survey of people who use it.

Of the 186 patients and carers who completed a Healthwatch survey online and in face-to-face interviews, 85 per cent was either ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’, and 80 per cent would recommend it.

However, patients using renal services were less impressed and said they continue to experience delays and other issues.

The PTS is provided by South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) following its troubled spell under Coperforma.

John Routledge from the independent watchdog Healthwatch said: “Whilst SCAS have introduced positive changes delivering tangible improvements, we believe much more is needed, particularly to ensure that services run better for renal patients.

“We will continue to seek assurances from the trust and the lead commissioner High Weald Lewes Havens Clinical Commissioning Group, that robust policies and procedures are in place, where the provider is sub-contracting patient transport services as part of the contract.

“We would encourage all patients and carers to share their ongoing experiences of PTS in Sussex with their local Healthwatch.”

The survey examined how the service has changed over six months from June to December 2017.

Those undertaking the survey across Sussex sometimes encountered challenges to identify transport provided by SCAS, Healthwatch said.

“A key concern for Healthwatch, identified through this latest review, is ‘whether the current service is capable of adequately identifying vulnerable patients, such as those with caring needs, the elderly and those with multiple and complex needs, including wheelchair users,” it said.

“Some vulnerable individuals experienced lengthy delays before being taken home.”

Debbie Marrs, assistant director of quality and patient care at SCAS said: “It is important for us to receive feedback from various sources to ensure we are continuously learning and improving.

“SCAS are working closely with commissioners on reporting our successes and areas for improvement and that partnership has grown over the past year. “SCAS also remain committed to working with and scrutinising the work of our private providers and compliance.”

The full response and report findings can be viewed in the report here: www.healthwatcheastsussex.co.uk/pts