The new Sussex-wide Patient Transport Service

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Summary of report content


Non-Emergency Patient Transport Services in Sussex are provided by South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) since April 2017. The performance of the previous provider (from April 2016 – April 2017) was of great concern to patients, members of the public and organisations across the health and care system.

Healthwatch in Brighton and Hove, East and West Sussex visited health services in Bexhill, Brighton and Hove, Crawley, Eastbourne, Hastings, Haywards Heath, Polegate and Worthing over three weeks in May to June 2017. They spoke to 218 patients, carers and some staff about their experiences of using PTS.

Key findings

Overall 75% of patients spoken with were satisfied with the quality of service they received, including 44% who were very satisfied.

82% of patients said they arrived on time for their appointments, with 18% arriving late. Over 60% of these late arrivals were at least 15 minutes late and 13% were more than an hour late.

42% of patients found the process of booking PTS easy to do and found it a positive experience. The most common problems encountered were with the automated telephone process, access via key option menus, cost of calls and long waiting times.

Everybody commented the vehicles that picked them up were clean and tidy and in 95% of cases vehicles were suitable for their individual needs. In a small number of cases vehicles were unsuitable for taking wheelchairs.


There are several areas that local Healthwatch would recommend the provider and the commissioner to seek to address, as a priority, to ensure patients continue to receive a consistent quality service, for example; improving experiences for patients (and staff) accessing the contact centre; improving the service for patients over the weekend period and providing patients with additional support with their mobility where needed.

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General details

Report title 
The new Sussex-wide Patient Transport Service
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch East Sussex
Date of publication 
Monday, 23 September, 2019
Date evidence capture began 
Monday, 1 May, 2017
Date evidence capture finished 
Friday, 30 June, 2017
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Quality of patient transport
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
How was the information collected? 
Visit to provider
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 
Not Known

Details of health and care services included in the report

Other services 
Patient transport

Details about conditions and diseases

Conditions or diseases 
Kidney conditions
Types of disabilities 
What type of pregnancy or maternity themes are included in the report 

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
All people 18 and over
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
Does the information include other people's views? 
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.