It was all systems go for West Midlands Ambulance Service on Sunday evening when the non-emergency patient transport services (PTS) contract for Wolverhampton and Dudley was officially handed over.
The multi-million pound contract means the Trust will complete about 160,000 patient journeys a year to New Cross and Russells Hall Hospitals as well as a number of other venues. The contract is for 3 years with an option of a further 2 years.
The contact, which was awarded after a competitive tender, means WMAS now provides transport for over one million patient journeys a year across our contracts. It is also the first time that WMAS has provided this service in this area for many years. WMAS has taken over the contract from NSL Limited.
The contract will operate from strategically based sites in Dudley and Wolverhampton, with a control room at Trust Headquarters in Brierley Hill.
Those eligible to use the contract will include those having certain outpatients appointments, day procedures and regular treatments such as renal dialysis, cancer treatment and physiotherapy.
WMAS has worked closely with Dudley and Wolverhampton CCGs to develop a service that will deliver a range of improvements for patients:
- Dedicated booking hubs for each area, providing travel advice for patients
- A new hospital based self-service kiosk to allow patients to register when they are ready for collection which reduces waiting times and improves patient experience
- Patients can opt into an SMS text service which will inform them of their appointment travel details
- Specially trained staff to ensure patients receive the best possible care and are sympathetic to their needs
- WMAS has invested in a specially designed fleet of vehicles that include the latest technology
WMAS Commercial Services Director, Mark Gough, said: “This is excellent news for the West Midlands Ambulance Service and re-affirms our commitment to try and grow our PTS services as much as possible.
“We now have over 60% of the PTS market in the West Midlands and we are working hard to grow that still further through the excellent level of service that we provide.
“An incredible amount of hard work has already been put in to make sure we are ready and we will continue to work hard to ensure we provide the best service possible to patients.”
Paul Maubach, Chief Executive Officer, Dudley CCG said: “We are delighted that the new service provider is up and running and we will continue to work with them to provide a high quality of service to our patients.
“Patients are still encouraged to make their own way to NHS appointments wherever possible. However, if they have a mobility issue, which means they are unable to travel by car, taxi, public transport, or community transport, they can contact PTS to see if they are eligible for transport.
“This service will operate on the same criteria as previously but we are keen for patients to make a note of the new number to call to avoid any inconvenience at the time of booking.”
Steven Marshall, Director of Strategy and Transformation from Wolverhampton CCG added “All parties are committed to continuous improvements for our patients and we are looking forward to working in partnership to deliver a high quality service.”
An eligibility criteria will continue to be used as before as set out by Dudley and Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Groups and is designed to identify your actual medical and mobility requirements. The booking offices for both areas are open Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 5.30pm.
- Patients in Dudley will have a new number to call to make their transport bookings: 01384 679 047.
- Those in Wolverhampton should continue to call the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust on 01902 694 999.
Please ensure you have the following information to hand when you call: Name, date of birth; NHS Number; pick up and destination addresses including the postcodes; GP name and practice address; and the date and time of your appointment.
Note to Editors
Picture 1 shows some of the staff who transport the patients: (L – R) Andrea Tucker, Clark Williams and Julie Pearson
Picture 2 shows some of the control staff: (L – R) Helen Wentworth, David Davies, Jayne Lewis, Ruth Hampson