Sussex wide Non-Emergency Patient Transport Service (PTS) provided by: South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

Download (PDF 816KB)

Summary of report content

This is a second report that local Healthwatch in Sussex published in 2017 about patient and carer experiences of using Non-Emergency Patient Transport Services (PTS). This report examines how the service changed over a six month period (June to December 2017) and since the new provider, South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS), took over the running of the service.

Key findings 

  • A total of 186 individuals completed our survey, either online or face-to-face
  • Overall users felt that the service was ‘better organised and more efficient overall’, with regular drivers having a significant positive impact on people’s experiences.
  • Overall 85% of all those surveyed were either ‘Very Satisfied’ or ‘Satisfied’ with the Patient Transport service, with 80% saying that they would recommend the service to family and friends. These numbers are higher than those recorded from the previous research in May/June 2017.
  •  Renal patients were less likely than other patients to be ‘very satisfied’ with the service and were also less likely to recommend the service to others.
  • 52% of respondents stated that overall, they felt the service had got better in the period from May/June to November/December 2017 and a further 42% said that it felt about the same.
  • Some negative issues with timing and coordination were highlighted and, as with the previous report, weekends featured as the time when patients were most likely to have an inferior service experience.
  • Hospital staff who took part in the research said the service was about the same as the last time Healthwatch reviewed PTS in May and June 2017.


  • Poor pick-up times continue to affect some patients.
  • Some renal patients continue to experience delays and uncertainties around pick-up times, despite being regular users of the service.
  • Hospital staff report that they still face long delays in getting through to the control centre, distracting them from their important work caring for patients.
  • Additional training is suggested for dispatch staff, to help them understand the local geography, leading to better scheduling of transport, and
  • Some wheelchair users had concerns about the accessibility for wheelchairs of the some of the vehicles used.


In order to ensure the best possible service is delivered, Commissioners and/or SCAS could consider:
creating a dedicated team to support renal patients who are regular users of PTS.

  • Improving experiences for patients (and staff) accessing the contact centre by streamlining the list of numbers which can be called, and reducing wait times. A dedicated phone line for staff should be considered.
  • Identifying actions to improve the timeliness and reliability of the service for patients at weekends.
  • Increasing the use of patient forums and meaningful engagement so that service users can participate in service review and improvements.

Would you like to look at:

General details

Report title 
Sussex wide Non-Emergency Patient Transport Service (PTS) provided by: South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch East Sussex
Date of publication 
Wednesday, 5 February, 2020
Date evidence capture began 
Wednesday, 1 November, 2017
Date evidence capture finished 
Sunday, 31 December, 2017
Type of report 
Key themes 
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
Primary research method used 
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

Details about conditions and diseases

Conditions or diseases 
Kidney conditions
Types of disabilities 

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Not known
Not known
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? 
Not known
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? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Yes action has been taken or promised
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
What type of impact was determined? 
Implied Impact

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.