Published on Sep 30, 2016
From October 1st non-emergency patient transport in North and North East Lincolnshire will be provided by Thames UK.
NHS funded Patient Transport Services (PTS) are there to help people get to their hospital appointments when they are too poorly or are physically unable to get there otherwise.
NHS North and North East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Groups announced Thames UK would be the new provider in April this year. Since then, work has been on-going to make the transfer to the new service as straightforward as possible for the people who use patient transport as well as for the staff and volunteers who have moved across to the new organisation from the previous provider East Midlands Ambulance Service.
Thames UK have met with patients and staff at two local engagement events and have been working closely with Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust and units attended by local kidney patients. The organisation is a specialist provider of transport for renal patients and has dedicated arrangements in place to minimise waiting times for people undergoing dialysis.
All staff, who will wear uniforms and carry ID badges, are required to undergo an enhanced CRB check and are trained in First-Aid, and have appropriate clinical training.
This important service is vital to more people than ever before and the CCGs wanted to make sure the NHS could continue to provide transport for patients who need it well into the future. This meant drawing up a new specification for the service that was informed by what local patients and their carers told us about their needs, with more than 500 people taking part in person and more than 170 people completing a survey about their experiences.
Thames UK was selected following a competitive procurement exercise earlier in the year. From October 1st, they will be covering all non-emergency patient transport across Northern Lincolnshire. Thames has two vehicle bases, one in Grimsby and one in Scunthorpe, with offices at the local hospitals. The main contact call-centre is in Lincoln.
Thames UK has considerable experience of working with healthcare partners and is committed to improving services, taking into account the experiences of clinical staff, people who use the service and their families or carers. Their vision is to move patient transport away from being just a logistics service to becoming an integrated part of patient care.
Patient feedback through informal and formal channels is extremely important , and Thames UK will undertake formal surveys including the ‘Friends and Family test’. They also plan to establish patient feedback groups.
Some Frequently Asked Questions
Has eligibility changed?
No, the eligibility remains the same. However, in order for the service to remain affordable the criteria will be applied more strictly than it may have been in the past.
Who is eligible for patient transport?
There are national criteria about who is eligible for patient transport. These are medical criteria and are not about how much money people can afford to pay. People on certain benefits are able to claim back the costs of travelling to medical appointments.
Eligible patients are those:
- Where the medical condition of the patient is such that they require the skills or
- support of PTS staff on/after the journey and/or where it would be detrimental to the
- their condition or recovery if they were to travel by other means.
- Where the patient’s medical condition impacts on their mobility to such an extent that: they would be unable to access healthcare and/or it would be detrimental to the
- patient’s condition or recovery to travel by other means.
- Recognised as a parent or guardian where children are being conveyed.
What about carers?
PTS could also be provided to a patient’s escort or carer where their particular skills and/or support are needed e.g. this might be appropriate for those accompanying a person with a physical or mental incapacity, vulnerable adults or to act as a translator.
Discretionary provision such as this would need to be agreed in advance, when transport is booked.
Who determines if a patient is eligible?
A patient’s eligibility for PTS will be determined either by a healthcare professional or by non-clinically qualified staff who are both:
- clinically supervised and/or working within locally agreed protocols or guidelines, and
- employed by the NHS or working under contract for the NHS
How do I book?
Depending on the medical situation, transport can be booked direct with Thames or through a patient’s healthcare provider (i.e. the hospital). Appointment letters will contain full details of how to arrange transport.
Thames can be contacted via Freephone numbers:
03003033176 and 03003033187
What happens to patients who not eligible?
Patients who are not eligible for NHS funded transport will be directed to alternative local providers.
If you have any concerns or queries, please contact :
North Lincolnshire Patients – Please contact our Patient Relations team on Email: NLCCG.PALS@nhs.net or by ringing 01652 251125
North East Lincolnshire Patients – please contact our patient enquiry line on 0300 3000 500 or send an email to email@example.com