Non-Emergency Patient Transport Services

EEAST delivered a number of non-emergency patient transport services across the region, in Essex, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

Last year proved to be a challenging year for our patient transport services, however we continued to deliver a successful service and in addition, we supported the transportation of COVID-19 positive patients throughout the east of England area.

Between April 2021 and March 2022, the Trust undertook 552,654 patient transport services journeys and a further 7,631 for COVID-19 positive patients. Whilst total journey numbers are lower than in previous years, the service had to deal with transporting a significantly higher number of patients that needed to travel alone. March 2022 saw the highest level of activity in one month, at 50,755 journeys.

To protect both patients and colleagues during the last year, we reduced the number of patients that travelled at the same time, to enable social distancing on our vehicles. Most of these journeys were pre-planned to support patients who would otherwise have been unable to attend an appointment, however, of these 552,654, approximately 18% were requested on the day.

It is normally really challenging, to balance the number of resources available to deliver a cost effective and efficient service, as well as on the day demand: it was even more demanding throughout the pandemic response. In order to maintain the health and safety of the patients using the service, we reduced the average vehicle utilisation from 3.7 patients per run, to 1.4 patients.

Flexible working arrangements were maintained throughout the year, including the increased use of private ambulance providers, and by upskilling some community first responders, student paramedics and military personnel to work alongside our patient transport services colleagues.

We are very proud of how our Patient Transport Service colleagues have delivered services during the pandemic, supporting discharges following hospital inpatient episodes, essential services such as end of life journeys, renal dialysis, and for chemotherapy appointments, as well as appointments for other outpatient services.

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