New Healthwatch in Sussex survey on Patient Transport Services

Healthwatch in Sussex have launched a new patient survey. They want to hear from people about their experiences of using Non-Emergency Patient Transport Services. These ideas will help inform the commissioning of a future service.

Sussex NHS Commissioners, representing Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Sussex, approached Healthwatch to conduct this important piece of work. This service is currently provided by South Central Ambulance Service.

Once they have gathered patients’ views, Healthwatch will be sharing the findings and recommended improvements with the commissioners. Patient’s views will help shape the future of the service which is due to be re-commissioned in 2021.

The survey will be open from 1st to 20th September and we are encouraging people to take part by offering a prize draw to win one of five £25 gift vouchers. People are also encouraged to share their individual stories with their local Healthwatch:

Patient Transport in Sussex

Non-Emergency Patient Transport Services (PTS) 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. PTS is free at the point of use for all eligible patients and currently provides around 25,000 journeys per month.

In the past the service has failed some patients, the issues were so serious that they were raised in Parliament. This is why it is so important the commissioners understand what is working well and what needs to improve – and the only way they can fully understand this, is to hear from people who use the service.

Healthwatch in Sussex said today:

“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 and the provider who is awarded the new contract must deliver real and immediate improvements.

Healthwatch in Sussex welcome the CCG’s engagement with us on this important work and we work closely with them to deliver a successful new contract.”