Non-Emergency Patient Transport Services (NEPTS) Procurement – Have Your Say

Non-Emergency Patient Transport Services (NEPTS) – Transformation and Procurement

 

Current Services

NEPTS provides NHS-funded transport for eligible people taking them from their home to a care provider (and back again) for planned appointments and treatment.

This service is available for patients who:

  • have a condition such that they need additional medical support during their journey
  • find it difficult to walk
  • are the parent, guardian, or child, of patients who need transport and who are not able to travel safely without them present

The majority of NEPTS in Surrey Heartlands is provided by South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS).  The Surrey Downs area is locally commissioned and provided by Epsom & St. Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust.

 

Future Services 

The Surrey PTS contract is due to end in March 2023; discussions are underway, and it may extend for a further year as permissible in the contract. Thereafter a new contract will be required, and a suitable procurement process undertaken.

In August 2021, NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE/I) published its review of non-emergency patient transport services (NEPTS).  Nationally, NEPTS provide over 11 million patient journeys each year, covering around half a million miles each weekday.

The review has worked extensively with patient groups including Age UK, Healthwatch England and Kidney Care UK to ensure the needs of patients are at the forefront of proposals. It also engaged widely with transport and healthcare providers, commissioners and other stakeholders.  The review report sets out a new national framework for non-emergency patient transport services to support them in becoming consistently responsive, fair and sustainable.  Core standards and a new service specification are due to be published by NHS England and NHS Improvement in December 2022.

In light of the need to consider all options for future services locally, ahead of the procurement process, NHS Surrey Heartlands CCG commenced the first stage of an engagement process in November 2020 and has also contributed to national review discussions with NHSE/I.

From July 2022 Surrey Heartlands CCG and partner organisations will become an Integrated Care System (ICS), coming together to shape and design services for those who use NEPTS transport.  This includes families of users, carers and colleagues who book and manage services to ensure our Surrey offer meets the growing and changing demands placed upon it.

Bringing ICS stakeholders together to design NEPTS services will enable us to

  • realise a shared vision and commitment to providing a patient centred service that holistically addresses the NEPTS needs of Surrey citizens
  • review what works and challenge the design of current services to identify where they can be improved and transformed now and in the future under new contract terms
  • build upon the national service specification to design the optimal localised service model for Surrey citizens which equally fulfils the requirements of ICS providers booking and managing transport provision

 

Breadth of the NEPTS Portfolio

There are aspects of NEPT services you may not traditionally recognise.  Our approach will encompass development of the four components below:

  1. Co-ordination and triage – assessment of eligibility, brokering and managing journeys, and signposting people to independent transport.
  2. Specialist transport services – for those who need adapted vehicles or support from staff with particular training during their journey.
  3. Non-specialist services such as private hire/taxis and community transport
  4. Reimbursement of travel costs – to allow patients or their families to cover the costs of private transport and, in addition, for those on a low income or meeting other criteria entitled to reimbursement through the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme.

We know that patient transport is an essential service for many people; it can directly impact the quality of users’ lives and those who care for them.  In addition, a smooth running, reliable and robust NEPT service beneficially impacts the productivity of professionals and the clinical services they run. 

We anticipate programme participation from South Central Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) and Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust (ESTH) who are our current NEPTS providers.  Outputs from the programme will be published on this page for access by all stakeholders, including potential NEPTS providers.

By designing a service appropriately, accommodating the needs of all ICS members we anticipate being able to specify an integrated, cost-effective, agile, and proficient NEPTS offer.

 

Summary of activity undertaken to May 2022

  • Five Round Table patient engagement events completed
  • PTS Staff (booking and referrals) survey completed
  • Developed and launched a smart survey for users and their carers
  • Web page available with all documents/notes from engagement sessions
  • Social media campaign launched to promote uptake of user survey
  • Ongoing development of engagement content following feedback to inform development of local service model
  • Contributions to national PTS discussions via NACN and engagement with NHS England/Improvement
  • Discussions with bordering CCGs about opportunities for a strategic approach and possihble partnership working

 

Next Steps from June 2022

Having listened and heard from service users  the next step, in June 2022 is to talk in depth with healthcare staff and, later, to providers of transport services.  We want to comprehensively understand how NEPT services work similarly and distinctly for specific types of patient appointments.

  • Outpatient and community appointments
  • Inpatient/ED appointments
  • Mental Health appointments
  • Frequent appointments such as those for dialysis, infusion and cancer care treatment

Project Initiation Documents detailing objectives, deliverables and evaluation criteria across Specialist and Non-Specialist Transport and for Eligibility, Booking and Reimbursement can be requested by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Monthly reports on progress will be published regularly on this page.

Taking into account the information we heard from service users, we will test hypotheses and ideas for different approaches across the Surrey healthcare system. We will seek opinion and track results to provide intelligence to support decisions regards appropriate vehicles, flexible and inflexible user types, privacy requirements, optimal wait times for users and clinical staff etc.  Where appropriate, information gathered will provide evidence for in-contract permissible adjustments for improved experiences.  Where this is not feasible learning will be incorporated into the service specification for the newly let service planned from April 2024.

Commissioners alone will consider the new service model, contracting profile and procurement approach.

 

Workshops for staff in June and July 2022

We are keen to hear staff experiences of booking Patient Transport or of witnessing the experiences of patients within your services who use Patient Transport.  We are particularly hoping to hear your suggestions for how this might be improved for users, carers and staff within Surrey Heartlands ICS.  We are seeking input from staff working across all facets of the system - in community, acute, mental health, social care and other relevant settings

Sign up to attend one, a combination of or all the following themed sessions:

  1. Eligibility, Booking and Reimbursement
  2. Outpatient and community appointments - patients requiring transport to an acute or community setting without staying there overnight
  3. Inpatient/ED appointments - patients requiring transport to an acute setting for an ED appointment or an overnight stay
  4. Frequent planned appointments - patients requiring transport to a medical setting offering them ongoing care e.g. dialysis, cancer care, infusion
  5. Mental Health appointments - patients requiring transport who cannot travel independently or for whom it is safest to convey them via a specialist NEPT service

 

Have Your Say with our online survey

You can continue to have your say by completing our online survey and sending NHS Surrey Heartlands CCG your views.

 

NEPTS Engagement Activity

Our engagement on Non-Emergency Patient Transport Services has been a rich experience. Feedback from service users has revealed their experiences of using both NHS non-emergency patient transport and voluntary and community transport, with examples from the recent and more historic past. Whilst the level of feedback represents only a small proportion of the total number of journeys undertaken by local NHS Patient Transport Services, the scope of responses has been broad. This has helped us better understand aspects of transport services that are most important to patients and helped generate ideas as to how we can better meet patients’ needs.

All engagement feedback is helping us think about and shape services for the future and we are incredibly grateful to everyone who has shared their time with us, especially during such an exceptional year. With the local service due to be re-commissioned next year, the engagement activities have been an opportunity to learn from service users and inform the development of a new specification. In the meantime, we will continue to work with the current provider, who continually works with us to review the service and make appropriate changes where necessary.

For clarity, the current contract and the associated engagement programme, excludes Renal services and the Surrey Downs area transport and does not reflect contractual performance. You can continue to send us feedback by completing our online survey.

 

Engagement activity during January to March 2021

Service User Survey

Based on the themes that emerged at our Round Tables late last year, we ran a User Survey from January to March. It was a quick, online survey of multiple choice questions, with comments sections, for service users and their carers and families. The survey closed on Sunday 7th March 2021. A summary of the feedback is in the document below.

 

Focus Groups and 1-1 Interviews

We have also held a number of focus groups and interviews with specific service user groups to better understand their needs. These groups include wheelchair users, learning disabled adults, older people, and users with visual impairments. A summary of their feedback is in the document below.

 

Engagement in November and December 2020

NHS and Care Staff Survey

During November and December 2020 we shared a quick survey with NHS and care staff, through hospitals, care staff and care home newsletters, and GP practices to understand what improvements professionals who support patients to access patient transport services would like to see. We received 55 responses. The summary of feedback is available in the document below.

 

Round Tables

In November and December 2020, the PTS procurement team for Surrey Heartlands CCG held five Round Table events to hear feedback on current PTS services from a variety of NHS and clinical colleagues and leaders from a range of community groups. The events were aimed at supporting the identification of key themes and issues, strengths and opportunities and potential solutions and next steps before undertaking focused engagement with service users in 2021. The sessions were informal and groups were small to allow for qualitative discussion time.

A Frequently Asked Questions document summarises the key points asked by attendees of these sessions.

 

Engagement in November 2020 to March 2021

A summary of the engagement undertaken is available in the report below:

 

 

 

Review Date: 2021-05-27
Review Due: 2021-11-23
Model Publication Scheme Class: Class 4: Procurement and Tendering