Changes to patient transport services from 2 October 2017

Private Ambulance Service, the company who runs non-emergency ambulances and takes patients to and from hospital for inpatient appointments, has closed down.

The NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, who manage such county-wide contracts, are working with a number of different organisations so that patients can continue to use the service to attend medical appointments.

To keep services running, the East of England Ambulance Service will oversee the contract for a period of time.

The CCGs are trying to keep disruption to an absolute minimum, but they have to prioritise those patients with the highest clinical needs – for example those attending for cancer appointments, dialysis or who are being discharged from hospital; these groups will be given first priority. This means that for those with more routine appointments who have booked to use the patient transport service over the coming few days, their booking may be cancelled until a new service is fully operational. If this happens, then every effort will be made to contact those affected to tell them that their booking has been cancelled. If you are able to walk or make your own way to appointments, then please do so. 

Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Luton CCGs will reimburse patients for their transport if they save their receipt.

In the meantime, the ambulance service has set up a call centre for patients who are attending appointments and would like to confirm a booking. 

Please contact 01603 481 208.

If you have a general enquiry, we would ask that you do not use the call centre number this week, so that we can prioritise patients who need the service most.

The CCGs have asked the Trust to apologise on their behalf for any inconvenience caused. Under these exceptional circumstances, patients with appointments at the Trust’s hospitals who have booked to use the patient transport services are encouraged to consider arranging alternative transportation arrangements for at least the coming week.

We will provide more information about the new service being commissioned by our CCG colleagues as soon as details are available.