URGENT INFORMATION FROM SCOTTISH AMBULANCE SERVICE
Patient Transport Service Information Sheet
Guidance for Staff Booking Patient Transport
The Patient Transport Service (PTS) is responsible for the transport of non-emergency patients who do not require an immediate or urgent ambulance. The core service operates between the hours of 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays) in order to transport patients for appointments which normally fall within a core time period of 09:30am to 3:30pm. The Scottish Ambulance Service will transport patients for appointment times earlier than 09:30am and later than 3:30pm subject to these journeys being manageable within the operating hours of the vehicles. Any appointments outside of these times will be accommodated by the Scottish Ambulance Service where possible and on resource being available to transport the patient.
The Scottish Ambulance Service will open a new direct patient telephone booking line, through our Regional Centre in Inverness. This service will start on 23 April 2012 for all patients who live in the following health board areas, NHS Grampian, NHS Highland, NHS Western Isles, NHS Orkney and NHS Shetland. The other Health Board areas will follow by the end of 2012.
The online (web browser) booking facility will still be available across the region for some Health Board colleagues. For further information on becoming a user please contact:
Ewan Murray, Area Service Manager covering NHS Grampian on 01224 812200
Steven Gorman, Area Service Manager covering NHS Highland, NHS Western Isles, NHS Orkney and NHS Shetland on 01463 667751
Alternatively, bookings can be made through the Scottish Ambulance Service contact centre on –
Telephone: 0300 123 1236
(calls will be charged at local rates for both landlines and mobiles).
Information required when booking transport
In order to book transport through the online booking system, the following details need to be entered:
Patient’s NHS number
GP name and address
Patient’s full address and postcode
and, where possible, the patient’s contact telephone number
The patient must be taken through a needs assessment (formally known as the eligibility criteria) in order to access the Patient Transport Service. Where the needs assessment determines that the patient does not require ambulance support, information on alternative methods of transport should be provided where possible. If a patient is unhappy with the decision not to provide ambulance transport, please refer them to the Scottish Ambulance Service Regional Centre for further advice on how they can appeal.
When booking transport with a patient it is worth noting that a dialogue will occur between the call handler and the patient, this should be maintained in order to fully understand the patient’s needs.
Things to consider:
Firstly ensure your request for ambulance transport is necessary by taking the patient through the needs assessment
If not, could the patient make their own way to hospital or get a friend or relative to take them or could they go by public transport or community transport (where available)?
If patients are receiving benefits, they may be able to reclaim their travel costs from the hospital they are attending
Escorts or carers must only be requested if absolutely necessary due to the patient’s medical need. This could potentially take up the space required by another patient
Following the patient’s treatment, it is the responsibility of hospital staff to notify ambulance control that the patient is ready for their transport home
Patient Needs Assessment
The Scottish Ambulance Service will take patients through the Patient Needs Assessment, formally known as the Eligibility Criteria, before a booking is confirmed at the Regional Call Centre. If you are using web browser you will need to follow the same process, to ensure a patient requires an ambulance.
Mobility of patient
C – Car patient – Patient can walk unaided, or requires only a steadying arm, can travel by car and does not require attention during the journey
C1 – Ambulance patient – Patient can walk and transfer to the seat of the ambulance with the assistance of one person. Patient may have their own or can use a hospital wheelchair. Patient does not require attention during the journey. There is easy access at the patient’s home and destination and they only require the assistance of the driver
C2 - Patient cannot walk or requires the assistance of two people to be moved to/from the ambulance or, access at the patient’s home may be difficult which requires assistance from two people or, patient’s mental or physical condition means they will need attention during the journey
If a patient requires travel to and from hospital in their own wheelchair, you must supply additional information regarding access at the patient’s home to allow us to provide an appropriate resource. Similarly, if it is necessary for a patient to travel in their electric wheelchair you must advise us of this at the time of booking ambulance transport.
STR – Stretcher mobility for patients who are required to lie down during the journey
NB: All patients with a full leg cast must be booked as a stretcher patient
BAR – Patient weighs in excess of 20 stone and is a C2 or Str
A&E – Patient’s condition is such that the skills of a qualified Ambulance Technician or Paramedic may be required during the journey.
Alternative Transport providers
If a patient does not need an ambulance or asks for information on different ways to get to hospital, please signpost them to the following schemes:
Free car parking at NHS Scotland facilities, but note that spaces are limited at Foresterhill and alternative methods of transport should be used if possible.
If a Local Taxi Card scheme is in operation by a Local Authority
Voluntary organisations which may be providing transport in your area
Public transport information from Traveline at 0871 200 22 33 or www.travelinescotland.com
NHS Travel Costs Scheme www.scotland.gov.uk/healthcosts
If applicable, the Highland and Islands travel scheme
National Cancellation line
If you, or a patient, needs to cancel their journey please call the national cancellation number at any time on freephone 0800 389 1333.
For further information on any of the above, please contact:
Ewan Murray, Area Service Manager covering NHS Grampian on 01224 812200.
Steven Gorman, Area Service Manager covering NHS Highland, NHS Western Isles, NHS Orkney and NHS Shetland on 01463 667751.
Q&A for Health Board Staff and GP staff who book the Patient Transport Service with the Scottish Ambulance Service in the North region
(this covers NHS Highland, NHS Grampian, NHS Shetland, NHS Orkney and NHS Western Isles)
Timing of changes
Q. When will these changes be happening?
A. The PTS improvement plan will take three years and will be implemented in phases throughout the North region, West region and East region. The North region is due to go live with phase one in April 2012.
Q: Which day will you switch the new telephone number on for bookings in the North?
A: On the 23 April 2012.
Booking the Patient Transport Service for patients after 23/04/12
Q. What will the role of GPs in referring patients for PTS now be?
A. GPs will now signpost patients to the direct patient telephone line. GPs will still be able to make requests on behalf of patients who require additional via telephone or Web Browser.
Q: Can I still use fax, letters, paper, notices, email, internal NHS Mail or the web to book PTS for patients?
A: From the 23rd April 2012 you will only be able to book PTS for patients through the web browser or on the direct patient telephone number.
Q: What is the new telephone number for patients requesting PTS?
A: 0300 123 1236 - charged at local telephone rates for both landlines and mobiles.
Q: Can we support a patient requesting a PTS booking by telephone?
A: If the patient has support needs then you may request the booking on behalf of the patient.
Q: Can patients use Text Relay to request a PTS booking?
A: Yes, the Text Relay number will be 18001-0300 123 1236
Q: What number will patients use to cancel a PTS journey?
A: Patients, staff or carers can call the national cancellation line freephone on 0800 389 1333
Patient Information materials
Q: How will you let patients know that the access routes to PTS have changed?
A: We are working with health board staff, ambulance staff and patients to let them know that they will be able to request a PTS booking through the direct telephone number from the 23rd April 2012 in our North region.
Q: Will I receive a leaflet that I will be able to give to patients?
A: Yes, leaflets and posters will be delivered to your office in March/April 2012. There will also be further information on the website, through social media and local involvement networks.
PTS Call Centres
Q. How and where will the patient contact centres be located?
A. The new model is based on two phases. The first phase will see 30 locally based Area Service Offices moved to:
three regionally based call handling and booking centres
six satellite centres operating as a virtual regional network, with responsibility for routing paper requests (until these are phased out) and carrying out planning and day control functions
11 Health Board liaison roles to maintain local liaison.
The second phase will move to a fully operational regional model, based in the East, West and North Emergency Medical Dispatch Centre offices.
Q: Where will my call centre be based?
A: In Inverness for the North region, which covers NHS Highland, NHS Grampian, NHS Western Isles, NHS Orkney, NHS Shetland.
New system for call-taking
Q. Will there be one national phone number for PTS requests?
A. Yes, plans are in place for one national number to be used for booking and dealing with enquiries. The current number for cancellations will not change. For “same day” requests GPs will need to contact a service co-ordinator at the regional centre in Inverness.
Q. Will call operators follow a standardised script?
A. Telephone operators will be given training and guidance in dealing with the types of call we expect. However, there will be room for flexibility in the conversations they have with patients based on individual need. They will follow the Patient Needs Assessment for each patient.
Q. What questions are patients going to be asked to assess their need for an ambulance?
A. Patients will be asked a series of questions to determine their clinical and mobility needs, in order to clarify whether they need ambulance services or other transport to support them in accessing their care.
Q. Can carers/ escorts call on behalf of the patient and travel in the vehicle?
A. Yes, provision can be made for an escort or carer to call to book transport on behalf of a patient and to travel with the patient whenever this is required. Escorts are not always accepted as an automatic request, so their need to accompany the patient should be clearly understood and agreed as part of the initial request.
Q. What is the appeals process for patients who do not agree with our decision about whether they receive an ambulance?
A. An appeals process has been established, whereby patients who have been informed that they do not need ambulance transport can ask for their case to be reconsidered. This review will be facilitated by supervisors, supported by trained clinical advisors. If patients still wish to appeal after this they can make a complaint to our Corporate Affairs department by calling 0131 314 0000.
Q. How far in advance will patients have to book an ambulance?
A. Patients can book an ambulance up to 28 days ahead of their appointment and no later than 1200hrs on the working day prior to travel.
Q. Is there a system in place for repeat appointments or regular patients who need the service?
A. Yes, the system will have a function built in to indicate which patients are regular users of the service, and it will be possible to book transport for multiple appointments on the same call.
Joint working and support
Q. How are we co-ordinating our work with other organisations like the Red Cross, voluntary groups, etc?
A. The Service is working in partnership with social care transport providers and other voluntary transport agencies to signpost alternatives which are available for those patients who do not have a clinical need for ambulance care.
If you would like to submit a question please email scotamb.YourPTS@nhs.net