Insights into the non-emergency patient transport booking process for service users in Northumberland

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Northumberland heard that local patients requesting non-emergency hospital transport frequently had requests refused but then permitted on appeal which was frustrating, anxiety provoking and potentially a deterrent to accessing the service. The aims of the report were information gathering, data exploration and appraisal of potential solutions to the perceived difficulties experienced by service users. The methodology involved semi-structured face to face and telephone interviews and analysis of existing numerical data. Findings revealed challenges for both patients and call handlers using the current system. Data confirmed a particularly high volume of appeals both made and subsequently overturned in Northumberland. Recommendations include: • Monitoring service users’ experiences closely following the introduction of the new criteria. This could include a focus group to provide feedback to the CCG. • Redesigning the current patient information leaflet to reflect changes such as the method of appeal. Consider adding further details and examples regarding what is classified as a medical need for transport. • Using engagement opportunities to disseminate information regarding changes to the criteria which may encourage patients to apply who have previously been reluctant or had a poor experience. • Requesting regular data from the CCG to ensure there is robust monitoring of the impact of the new criteria. • Offering to represent service users views at stakeholder meetings held to evaluate the effectiveness of the new criteria.

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General details

Report title 
Insights into the non-emergency patient transport booking process for service users in Northumberland
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Northumberland
Date of publication 
Thursday, 1 February, 2018
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Health inequalities
Quality of appointment
Quality of care
Quality of patient transport
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Waiting times and lists for treatment
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
Structured interview
How was the information collected? 
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Other services 
Patient transport
Non-emergency ambulance service

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Not known
Does the information include staff's views? 
Not known
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.