Over the last year, the Patient Transport Service (PTS) at North East Ambulance Service has been undergoing an overhaul to enable us to provide better patient care.
Changes have been ongoing throughout the service since 2013, when we introduced a new appointment system, followed by the introduction of eligibility criteria, implemented by clinical commissioning groups in October 2014, which is ensuring only eligible patients travel on our PTS vehicles.
We are now in the process of restructuring PTS Planning and Day Control as the current structure does not meet the demand we are facing.
The new structure will see seven dispatch desks covering Northumberland, Newcastle, North Tyne, South Tyne, Central, Durham and Tees. Each desk will manage no more than 40 resources, which ensures staff don’t miss opportunities and there will be better cross-utilisation of vehicles across the region.
A series of roadshows will be held throughout April and May to allow staff to find out more information about the plans.
Taking these changes into account, we are currently undergoing a PTS operational team manager review.
Other improvements to the service include the introduction of the volunteer porter role, with 50 volunteer porters now operating throughout the region.
At a number of hospitals, we have also introduced ambulance waiting areas and free phones for patients to ring registration as soon they have finished their treatment. Having the waiting area reduces the amount of time staff spend finding patients.
All of our Ambulance Car Service vehicles are in the process of being equipped with a PDA and we will shortly be testing some new PDA devices with our volunteer porters to allow them to see which vehicles and patients are coming into hospital so they can structure their work more efficiently.
On top of this, vehicles which were previously dedicated day unit vehicles, excluding mental health units, have been re-introduced into our core fleet, giving us extra capacity.
We have also introduced a Patients’ Charter to help patients understand how the service works now that the appointment system is in place. The charter is available on vehicles and will also be in GP surgeries and hospitals shortly.