Published on Jul 14, 2015
NHS funded Patient Transport is there so people can get to appointments that their GP or Consultant has referred them to when they are too poorly or are physically unable to get there otherwise.
There are national criteria about who is eligible. These are medical criteria and not about how much people can afford to pay. People on certain benefits are able to claim back travel costs.
Because we realise it is often very difficult for some people to make their own way to appointments, locally we have not been very strict in the past about how we apply the criteria.
Additionally, sometimes people take advantage of the system; whether this is by not telling us everything about their circumstances or not letting us know when they no longer need it. NHS drivers often go to houses to pick up a patient only to see more than one car sitting in the drive or to find the patient has gone out or decided not to attend their appointment.
Patient transport is an expensive service to run and the NHS is currently facing significant financial challenge.
Out of 100,000 journeys in North and North East Lincolnshire every year, approximately half of these are transporting patients who do not meet the national criteria.
To ensure the service is sustainable and we can continue to provide it for those people who really have no alternative, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) have to look again at how we apply the national criteria.
This will mean that some people who have been able to get transport previously may no longer be able to and the CCGs are asking for the public to get involved in the way they decide how to do this to ensure it is fair for everyone.
Dr Peter Melton, Chief Officer of North East Lincolnshire CCG said “We hope looking at the service again will give us the opportunity to make it better for patients while creating something that is sustainable and we can continue to be able to provide into the future. We encourage people to get involved in the conversation about this important service”.
“These are very tough decisions because we know that some people who are not eligible under the criteria still find it extremely difficult to get to their appointments and for a long time we have taken this into account,” explained Allison Cooke, Chief Officer of North Lincolnshire CCG.
“This is why we want the public’s support so we get it right. Unfortunately, some people take advantage and use the transport when they know they should be making their own way to their appointments. This often means the service isn’t as reliable or convenient as it could be for the people who genuinely need it. For example, very ill or frail people have to wait much longer when they have had treatment and should be home recovering or face longer journeys with more stops as their transport calls to pick up other patients who may not even be at home.”
There will be a series of face-to-face events in Grimsby, Scunthorpe and Immingham where people who use patient transport, carers and members of the public can take part in a discussion about how we can make the service affordable while still being fair and more accessible for people who need it.
The CCG will also be visiting local community and special interest groups.
There is also an online survey that you can complete by visiting
If you have any queries or would like a paper copy of the survey or help to complete it, please ring 0300 3000 567
Details of public events:
Tuesday, 21st July, drop in anytime between 10am to 12 noon at the Roxton Practice, Pelham Road, Immingham
Thursday 23 July, drop in anytime between 10am and 12 noon
Heritage House, Fisherman’s Wharf, Grimsby
Tuesday, August 4th 1pm to 3pm at the Wortley Hotel, Rowland Road, Scunthorpe. You need to reserve a place for this event. To book call us 0300 3000 567
We have put together a leaflet about Patient Transport which will give you more information. You can download this by clicking here.