In a report published this week, local Healthwatch reflect that 75% of patients we talked too, across Sussex, are satisfied with the quality of non-emergency Patient Transport Service they received, including 44% who were very satisfied.
The New Sussex-wide Patient Transport Service ‘a report of what you told us’ says that although satisfaction levels have improved, this is not consistent across Sussex, with patients in Brighton having less positive experiences to share.
218 local people were interviewed, and of these 71% (152) are regular users of the service. Healthwatch spoke to patients, friends and family plus carers and staff in Brighton and Hove, East Sussex and West Sussex at health services in Bexhill, Brighton & Hove, Crawley, Eastbourne, Hastings, Haywards Heath, Polegate and Worthing over three weeks from May to June 2017.
82% (165) of patients said they arrived on time for their appointments, however under half (42%) find the process of booking transport easy to do and a positive experience. Journey experiences were overwhelmingly positive and people told us they have found the vehicles to be clean and tidy and in 95% of cases suitable for their needs. In a small number of cases vehicles were unsuitable for taking wheelchairs.
Healthwatch has concerns about inconsistencies in the service and are calling for these to be addressed as a priority by the lead commissioning NHS organisation in Sussex, High Weald Hewes Havens Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and by the service provider, South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS).
Since April 2107, Non-Emergency Patient Transport Services in Sussex are provided by South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS). The performance of the previous provider (April 2016 to April 2017) was of great concern to patients, the public and organisations across Sussex.
Sussex Healthwatch chief officers added:
'This is the first time we have worked together on a Sussex wide review and the findings offer both the new provider and the lead commissioner valuable insight into how the service is embedding and providing early warning signs where improvements need to be prioritised.'
We will be repeating this activity in December 2017 to see whether further improvements have been made from the perspective of patients who rely on the service. The public can continue to leave their feedback on the PTS with their local Healthwatch, using the contact details below.
Dr Sarah Richards, Chief of Clinical Quality and Performance, High Weald Lewes Havens, Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said:
'We welcome this report and would like to thank Healthwatch for their work on behalf of local patients. Overall, we are pleased to see that the majority of patients spoken to said they were satisfied with the quality of the service and this reflects the fact that the quality of the service has generally improved.'
However, we recognise that it is still not where SCAS and the CCGs want it to be and we will continue to work together to ensure the progress that has been made carries on. we will be looking closely at the recommendations highlighted in this report to see where further improvements can be made.