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Contract awarded for Birmingham, Sandwell & Solihull non-emergency patient transport

West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (WMAS) has been awarded a five-year contract to deliver a new non-emergency patient transport (NEPT) service for around 8,500 patients a week from 1 May 2017.

NEPT services are for people that have a medical need, and require specialist assistance to travel to or from NHS services. The service plays a critical role in patient care and the CCGs are investing in the new service to ensure patients receive a high quality, safe and timely service.

Earlier this year, NHS Birmingham CrossCity Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), on behalf of 17 West Midlands CCGs, commenced a competitive procurement process for the new NEPT service.

The new service will replace the existing services at six NHS trusts, providing one universal service across Birmingham and Solihull. It will cover the following NHS trusts:

  • Birmingham Women’s NHS Foundation Trust

  • Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

  • Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust

  • University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.

It will provide services to Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull patients who require NEPT to travel to or from the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust sites. From 6 January 2018, it will also replace NEPT services at The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. 

Dr Barbara King, NHS Birmingham CrossCity CCG’s Clinical Accountable Officer, said: “NEPT is a vital service for those patients with qualifying medical needs. This new service will improve waiting times for transport and will support patients being discharged from hospital. To achieve this, we have committed to investing in the service for the next five years.

“This is the first time we have commissioned these services at scale, and we are delighted to have worked on behalf of all 17 CCGs.”

By investing in this new service the CCGs, working with WMAS, will deliver a range of improvements for patients:

  • Central booking hub, providing travel advice for patients who apply but are not eligible

  • Give patients the option to sign-up for real time information alerts to track the status of their NEPT journey request

  • Give patients the option to provide patient feedback after each journey via SMS text message or email

  • A new patient charter, which will provide information on response times and what patients can expect

  • Access to a wide range of ambulance vehicles to meet the medical needs of patients, including high dependency and bariatric patients

  • 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 to provide real time information and journey status to patients

  • Brand new strategically placed operating sites that bring real benefits to staff and the communities that they serve

  • An increase in staff numbers, which will create jobs in the area and provide better services to patients. 

WMAS has over 40 years’ experience in delivering NEPT services and is also one of the largest providers of emergency ambulance services in the country. By commissioning one single universal service, this provides greater opportunity for WMAS to invest in the staffing and vehicles that are need to provide a responsive NEPT service.

West Midlands Ambulance Service Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “We are thrilled to have won this contract and look forward to continuing to provide an excellent service to patients in Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull. We have a very strong team with vast experience in running patient transport service operations and we currently complete more than one million journeys per year.  We will be implementing a tried and tested service delivery model that is used elsewhere in the West Midlands in order to ensure patients receive the very best level of service possible.”

More information on the NEPT is available here. The new patient charter will be published in May 2017 when the service is launched.