A new text-ahead service telling patients when their transport is due to arrive will be one of the features of an enhanced Non-Emergency Patient Transport Service (NEPTS) for Cheshire, Wirral and Warrington.
The new-look service will be provided by West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS), it was announced today.
WMAS was appointed by the lead ambulance commissioner for the North West, NHS Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), following a competitive tendering process and evaluation of potential providers.
WMAS will now work with NHS Blackpool CCG and NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG to ensure it is ready for the contract start and a smooth transition takes place with the current transport provider, North West Ambulance Service (NWAS).
NEPTS is available to eligible patients with medical needs which prevent them using public or private transport and it would be detrimental for their condition or recovery if they were not able to travel with the support of ambulance personnel.
It is separate from emergency ‘blue light’ ambulances, which will continue to be provided by NWAS.
Jerry Hawker, chief officer of NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG and chief executive lead for Cheshire, Wirral and Warrington, said: “I’m very pleased with the outcome of the procurement process and am looking forward to working with WMAS.
“I hope that our local population will continue to experience a really high quality patient transport service and benefit from a number of quality improvements which have been incorporated in the contract, following engagement with hospitals, patients and commissioners.”
Quality improvements include:
• a text ahead service, to inform patients when their transport will arrive
• streamlined quality standards, particularly around the journey arrival and collection times
• revised process for applying the eligibility criteria to ensure equitable access to the service.
Patrick Heywood, a Knutsford resident who served on the NEPTS procurement panel, said: “The process undertaken did involve the users and patients, which ensured that due consideration was given to the needs of Cheshire residents.
“The evaluation process was comprehensive and one had to determine if the submission meet a stringent criteria with marks were given for each element.”
WMAS currently serves a population of 5.6 million people covering an area made up of Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Coventry, Birmingham and the Black Country.
Both Shropshire and Staffordshire border Cheshire and WMAS has experience in transporting patients across the borders in these areas.
WMAS have experience in providing NEPTS and currently complete around 700,000 journeys per year.
NWAS will continue to provide NEPTS until June 2016, following a mobilisation process with WMAS.