Healthwatch in Sussex has today launched a survey to hear from people about their experiences of using non-emergency Patient Transport Services.
The feedback will help inform the commissioning of a future service. In 2022 a provider will be awarded a minimum five-year contract worth around £20 million to run this service for Sussex and Surrey.
Healthwatch will share its findings and recommended improvements with health service commissioners.
This service is currently provided by South Central Ambulance Service.
The previous provider Coperforma was heavily criticised for delays in taking patients in Sussex to hospital and was stripped of its contract.
Non-emergency Patient Transport Services cover all of Sussex, with a population in excess of 1.6 million. Patients are transported via pre-booked journeys to and from health appointments seven days a week, including Bank Holidays. Patient Transport Services is free at the point of use for all eligible patients and currently provides around 25,000 journeys per month.
Siobhan Melia, Chief Executive of Healthwatch in Sussex, said:
One of the most basic issues people face is travelling to and from health appointments. These services are a lifeline and help those most in need. Evidence suggests that services do not always work well, making this a distressing experience for patients. A much-needed national review of PTS has been announced by NHS England and a key aspect of this is how to improve commissioning of services.
Locally, from 2022, a new provider will be awarded a minimum five-year contract worth around £20 million to run this service for Sussex and Surrey eligible residents. This time around, the commissioning process and transition arrangements between the existing service and the provider who is awarded the new contract must deliver real and immediate improvements.
The survey is open until 20th September. Everyone who completes it is entered into a prize draw to win one of five £25 gift vouchers.
You can complete the survey here.