On October 1, 2014, South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) NHS Foundation Trust took over provision of the patient transport service (PTS) across Hampshire – including the area covered by our CCG.
It already runs a PTS in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire providing transport for people unable to use public or other transport due to their medical condition, and who meet the criteria explained below.
SCAS now provides this non-emergency service in Hampshire addition to the 999 ambulance and many other services.
From June 1, 2015, it also introduced a new ETA (estimated time of arrival) service - in which users can call a dedicated number, 0300 0135 003, to get an estimated time of arrival for their transport.
Here are your top 10 key questions about the new service answered.
1) Who is this patient transport service for?
It is a non-emergency service for medically eligible patients who are unable to use public or other transport due to their condition. It includes those who are:
Only patients who meet the following eligibility criteria can use the service:
PTS should be seen as part of an integrated programme of care. A non-emergency patient is one who, whilst requiring treatment, which may or may not be of a specialist nature, does not require an immediate or urgent response.
2) Where does this new service operate?
SCAS provides the PTS service in the following seven CCG areas:
3) When does the new service operate?
All services are available seven days a week, including bank holidays, during the following hours:
06:00 – 22:00 Outpatient appointments, admissions to and discharges from hospital
06:00 – 23:00 Renal patients attending dialysis at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth, or one of its six satellite sites
08:00 – 18:00 Repatriation of patients registered with a GP in Hampshire from elsewhere in England, Wales or Scotland
4) How do I book this service?
The service can be requested transport through your GP, hospital or other treatment site you are attending. If you are eligible, they will make the booking for you. Healthcare professionals either book journeys online or request them via the designated SCAS call centres. Calls are not accepted directly from members of the public for the PTS service in Hampshire.
5) How fast is SCAS to respond to calls?
Calls received via the booking line are expected to be answered within 60 seconds. If no call handler is available, a message can be left on the answer machine, which should be responded to within 30 minutes.
Technology is playing a key role. Both SCAS contact centres are working closely together to provide a seamless experience to service users. Calls received via the booking line are answered by the next available call handler at either centre. SCAS has implemented a single patient data system to support this process.
You can call 0300 0135 003 to find out the estimated time of arrival of your transport.
6) How busy is this service?
In the first two weeks of the new contract SCAS dealt with 11,002 non-emergency journeys – that’s 785 a day – and SCAS Contact Centre staff handled 565 calls a day relating to the service.
7) How does SCAS cope with this demand?
It has more than 100 vehicles designated to provide the PTS across Hampshire, including 63 brand new specialist vehicles commissioned especially for this contract.
Many staff from the previous service providers have transferred to SCAS, and volunteer car drivers are also used, although they are only permitted to transport certain categories of patients.
All PTS staff have ‘personal data assistants’ (PDAs) to enable SCAS to manage the service efficiently. PDAs provide live performance data, which enable teams to be proactive in response times, as well as supporting SCAS’s commitment of moving towards a paperless operation.
8) Who decides who is eligible for this service?
Eligibility criteria for the PTS service in Hampshire were set by the lead commissioning CCG Group in order to ensure that the service is available to those who need it most. A patient’s eligibility for PTS will be determined either by a healthcare professional, or by non-clinically qualified staff who are both:
9) How do I find out if I am eligible?
Healthcare professionals make the bookings, and they will tell you if you are eligible. This will be your GP, hospital or other treatment site you are attending.
This service is to support patients who have planned care – that is care which we, the NHS, knew was required and we have therefore planned for. For example, this could be a patient being taken home after a stay in hospital.
10) If I want to speak to someone at SCAS about the service, who do I contact?
If you have any questions or comments about the SCAS PTS service you can email them to PTSHantsQ&A@scas.nhs.uk