Help to improve non-emergency patient transport in the NHS

July 25, 2022

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The NHS is facing one of the busiest winters in history. The demand for emergency care has never been greater and it’s vital that we do everything possible to help them to keep up with this demand. Non-emergency patient transport services are an area where more can be done to help ease pressure on the front line.

The NAO’s figures show that around 2 million trips are made each year via NEPTS in England, with ambulances carrying many of the patients.

NEPTS (non-emergency patient transport services), is provided by a range of providers such as taxi firms and voluntary organisations. They are used for patients who don’t need an ambulance but can’t get themselves to hospital because of their condition or mobility issues.

The NHS spends around £1 billion each year on taxis, ambulances and other forms of transport for NHS patients – about 5% of the total NHS budget.

But the NAO warns that the current arrangements for NEPTS could be wasting money by sending too many people on expensive ambulances when cheaper alternatives would suffice (such as booking a taxi service). It estimates that around 2 million trips are made via NEPTS in England each year, with taxis carrying 37% of these journeys while ambulances make up 63%.

All NHS Trusts have to offer free transport for eligible patients who cannot make their own way for medical appointments.

All NHS Trusts must provide transport for patients who cannot make their own way to medical appointments. This presents a need to get the safest, most cost-effective route to care booked for many patients.

So what is the solution?

The solution to this issue is not just about finding a balance between clinical need and cost, it’s about finding a balance between clinical need, patient experience, safety and efficiency. Whilst also ensuring that the quality of care remains high.

The cost of providing this service varies tremendously across England, with Trusts spending up to £195 per patient journey. This is partly because there are different types of transport used, from ambulances to community transport vehicles (CTVs) and private hire taxis; but also because some hospitals have a more complex patient base than others and so they require more resources in terms of staff time, training and equipment. This complexity may also increase costs if it means that more trained staff are required to make sure patients are transported safely, or if specialist equipment has been purchased by hospitals to facilitate safe care provision during non-emergency transfers.

How we can help to source ambulance and taxi transport

Using our eProcure Platform, we are able to provide access to a range of transport providers, including ambulances and taxis. Our dedicated team work tirelessly to ensure the highest standard of care is provided by the transport services that we work with, guaranteeing that your patient receives the best possible care while they are being transported. We are able to provide a cost-effective solution that is tailored to your patient’s needs. Our service is flexible and can be adapted to meet any NEPTS requirements (including Mental Health journeys), meaning we can help you to provide an effective service with minimal delay.

Keeping the NHS moving helps us all

We’re passionate about helping patients get to and from places of care safely, and we know that NEPTS is a vital part of making sure this happens. That’s why we want to work with NHS Trusts to help them make the most of their budgets, saving valuable time and resources.

We provide this service and access to our Digital Transport Marketplace free of charge to the NHS. Keeping the NHS moving is more important than ever as Trusts face the biggest crisis they have ever seen. We’re ready to help as soon as you need us. Give us a call to tell us your requirements or send us an email to [email protected].

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