Patients Transport services in Beds & Herts

Norwich PTS vehicles

Private Ambulance Service (PAS), the company who operated patients transport services across Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Luton has gone into administration. As a result of this, the CCGs have asked EEAST to assist given the immediate cessation of PTS in their areas.

Over the weekend, we have been in discussion with the clinical commission groups to help support those patients most affected by this announcement who need to get to their hospital appointment over the coming days and weeks.  As some of the staff affected are members of UNISON, we have also been engaging with UNISON colleagues to support the staff affected in this time of great uncertainty.

Following these discussions, we have been awarded a caretaker contract to provide the non-emergency patient transport in Bedfordshire, Luton and Hertfordshire in the interim whilst longer term solutions are being reviewed.  In the meantime, EEAST is working hard to minimise disruption to patients whilst future plans are developed and the right capacity, staffing and funding is secured. While we’re making every effort to make this transition of service as smooth as possible, we will need to manage demand for the service this week and so we’re prioritising patients who need the service most – for example, those travelling for cancer treatments, dialysis or being transferred from hospital to a hospice or care home. We are asking patients who are attending routine appointments and are able to make their own way to hospital to do so.

Wayne Bartlett-Syree, Director of Strategy and Sustainability, said “Given our expertise in patient transport, and the trust in our organisation, we have been asked to step in and provide this service at very short notice. I believe this is in recognition of the professionalism of our staff and the organisation and the significant improvements we have made to our service over the last two years. I would like to thank everyone who has worked so hard since Friday and over the weekend to make sure that we are in a positon this morning to manage the service – a huge amount of work from people across the organisation.

We have got over the first hurdle, that of setting up the service. Our focus is now on delivering the best possible service to patients, ramping up capacity to meet the demand from all patients and supporting those staff affected.”

Fraer Stevenson, UNISON Branch Secretary said, 'The staff working for Private Ambulance Service (PAS) should be commended for continuing to provide compassionate care to their patients, in what has been very difficult circumstances. It’s hoped that in the long term these staff are given the security and support they deserve, to enable them to carry out their vital roles. We will work with the Trust to ensure these staff are given the best possible terms and conditions, as well as being supported in this transitional period. It’s UNISON’s belief that this contract should have always remained part of the NHS and it’s hoped this latest failure from a private provider will make CCGs more cautious about chasing a reduced cost service in the future.

 Published 3rd October, 2017

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