Welcome to Patient Transport Service 

People are at the heart of everything we do, which is why we are committed to provide a professional high-quality service across the East Midlands, 365 days a year.

EMAS currently provides non-emergency patient transport services (NEPTS) in Derbyshire and Northamptonshire for eligible patients who need medical or clinical support to get to and from their healthcare appointments. In July 2023, this service has been further extended to Lincolnshire after the 10-year contract was awarded to EMAS, meaning we now deliver both the control room and transport provision for the county. 

Our aim is to provide a safe and reliable service to eligible patients. This gives them, and their families, the reassurance that they will get to their vital scheduled appointments on time. We reduce the potential anxiety that our patients may have otherwise faced in figuring out the logistics of using alternative modes of transportation which would not be able to meet their specific medical needs throughout their journey.

During 2022/2023, we provided care and support across Derbyshire and Northamptonshire during 303,331 journeys, which included 4,925 journeys undertaken by the Volunteer Car Drivers. The service received 234,808 phone calls from NHS colleagues and patients to make or amend a journey booking.

About our crew and vehicles

Over 400 well-trained NEPTS staff and volunteers are dedicated to delivering outstanding patient care for our non-emergency patients who require our specialist support to get to and from their hospital appointments safely in a monitored and controlled environment.

Each month, on average, our 120 PTS vehicles make 20,000 journeys. The vehicles that we use to provide our service are equipped to support any patient with any mobility need. They also have dementia friendly features like grey flooring to reassure patients that the floor is safe to stand on. Previously the colour of the floor was blue which patients with dementia may misinterpret as water. 

Overarching Principle

Most people should travel to and from hospital independently by private or public transport, with the help of relatives or friends if necessary. NHS-funded patient transportation is reserved for when it is considered essential to ensuring an individual’s safety, safe mobilisation, condition management or recovery. Patient transport service is not funded for patients travelling to their GP surgery for routine or urgent GP appointments, to their dentist or optometrist or for any other primary care service. 

Reason for the appointment

National guidance states that only patients who meet one of the below reasons for an appointment will be considered for eligibility for NEPTS: 

  1. The patient has been referred by a doctor, dentist or ophthalmic practitioner for non-primary care NHS-funded healthcare services – that is, diagnostics or treatment. 
  2. The patient is being discharged from NHS-funded treatment.

Qualifying Criteria

The patient is likely to qualify for non-emergency patient transport if they meet one or more of the following criteria: 

  1. They have a medical need for transport, typically because they may require oxygen and are unable to self-administer this during transit, need specialised equipment during the journey, need to be closely monitored during the journey, or need to be transferred to another hospital. 

  2. They have a cognitive or sensory impairment requiring the oversight of a member of specialist or non-specialist patient transport staff or a suitably trained driver.
  3. They have a significant mobility need that means they are unable to make their own way with relatives/friends and/or escorts/carers whether by private transport (including a specially adapted vehicle if appropriate for the journey), public transport or a taxi.
  4. They are travelling to or returning from in-centre haemodialysis, in which case specialist transport, non-specialist transport or upfront/reimbursement costs for private travel will be made available. 
  5. A safeguarding concern has been raised by any relevant professional involved in a patient’s life, in relation to the patient travelling independently.
  6. They have wider mobility or medical needs that have resulted in treatment or discharge being missed or severely delayed.

Understand the full detail of the NEPTS eligibility criteria

If you are not eligible for NHS funded transport, you may qualify for help with travel costs under the healthcare travel cost scheme (HTCS). 

Please call our booking line: 0300 300 3434 if you need to make a booing. Our call handler will assess whether you are eligible to use patient transport by asking a few simple questions to understand the patient's medical conditions and mobility needs. Your relative or carer may also book this for you if needed.

Please book the service no more than seven days before the actual appointment day. 

Important reminder: We appreciate your help to ensure our service is used wisely and responsibly. In case your appointment is cancelled or amended, please remember to notify us by calling the above booking line. This is to ensure our crew and resources could be used instead to assist a patient waiting elsewhere. 

To facilitate the booking, please have the following information ready before you call us:

- Patient name and Date of Birth (DOB)

- Patient's NHS number

- Patients' full address with postcode

- The date, time and destination of the journey

- Mobility needs, for example, in a wheelchair

- Whether there are any access restrictions at the home address, such as steps or stairs

- Any requirement you may have for more specialist support during the journey, for example access to oxygen

Once your transport is booked, you will be given a booking reference number. You will be receiving an SMS reminder the day before the appointment if you provide us with your mobile phone number. Our crew will also give you a call when on route to confirm if the journey is still required and provide an estimated time of arrival. 

When others book the transport for you

If a hospital, clinic or your family book your transport, they will go through the same process on your behalf, responding to the same questions about your medical conditions and mobility needs. 

We continue to take all necessary steps to ensure that our NEPTS can convey patients as safely as possible in relation to COVID-19.

Since 21 April 2022 we have been able to transport more than one patient per journey to their healthcare appointments to maximise our capacity on our ambulances whilst keeping patients safe. Patients at present are not required to wear face masks and will travel with other patients provided they do not have any COVID-19 symptoms. We will continue to call you ahead of your appointment where possible to ask a series of questions to ensure your safety, and the safety of our other patients and NEPTS crews.

An escort is only eligible to travel with you if there is a medical need to support you during your journey. To make sure we have enough space for other patients, please only ask for an escort to accompany you on your journey if one is genuinely required to support you during transportation. This will help us maximise the number of patients we can accommodate on a single journey, so we can continue to provide an acceptable level of service to people who need to get to and from their vital healthcare appointments in a timely manner. 

If you do require an escort to assist you during your appointment, they should make alternate arrangements to meet you at your destination. If you have any concerns or queries, please call us on 0300 300 3434.

 


 

Q1: How early can I book the service?

A1: You should book the service no more than seven days before the actual appointment day. 

Q2: Can someone travel with me?

A2: We cannot offer space for a companion for every patient because this means there may not be space for another eligible patients. Therefore, we will only accept bookings for companions as escorts or carers in certain circumstances and any request will be assessed as part of the eligibility process at the start of the booking. 

Patients under the age of 18 should always travel with a relative or carer. Approval for all other companions will be based on the medical needs of the patient. 

Q3: I have a hearing problem and I won't be able to book the service myself. 

A3: If you have difficulty in booking the transport service, you may ask the staff at the hospital or clinic to assist you when they arrange your appointment. You may also ask a family member or friend for help, or use talk to text if you have access to this tool. 

Q4: When will I be collected?

A4: You may be collected up to two hours before your appointment, depending on where you live. 

Q5: I use oxygen at home. Can I bring this with me?

A5: If you require the use of oxygen for the journey, please ensure it is raised when you make the booking as this will determine the type of vehicle we use. 

Q6: Can I take my own wheelchair?

A6: Yes, if it is a crash-tested and serviced wheelchair with its own lap belt. If not, you will need to travel on an ambulance wheelchair provided by EMAS. You may also check if your wheelchair is crash-tested by referring to the wheelchair handbook or contacting the wheelchair supplier. 

Q7: How is the crew going to help me?

A7: Our trained staff, wearing an identification badge and usually dressed in EMAS green uniform, will collect you from your home and accompany you to the part of the hospital where we have been asked to drop you off. In some cases, your journey may be provided by an EMAS volunteer car driver or an approved patient transport or taxi firm, arranged and paid for by the NHS. They are also trained to help you during the journey. 

Q8: Am I the only patient on the ambulance car?

A8: There may be occasions where you travel with other patients as well. 

Q9: How should I prepare for the patient transport?

A9: Before beginning the journey, please make sure you have your key to get back in when you return and that your home is securely locked. If you have an appointment letter you should bring it with you. If you take medication, bring it with you in case you have not returned home by the time the next dose is due. Consider bringing a snack and drink, or money to buy one, especially if you are diabetic. Please remember your walking aid if you usually need one. 

When we take you home after treatment, we will make sure you are safely back indoors before we leave. 

 

We are pleased to have you as part of the team, serving the community together. If you think you have what it takes to help provide quality patient transport to and from healthcare appointments as a Volunteer Car Driver, or if you are interested in our other volunteer roles within EMAS, such as Community First Responders, Community Trainer Volunteer, please visit our volunteering webpage for more information.