In August 2021, NHS England and NHS Improvement published its review of non-emergency patient transport services (NEPTS).
NEPTS provide funded transport where a medical condition means that a patient would struggle to safely attend their treatment independently. Services 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 its proposals. It also engaged widely with transport and healthcare providers, commissioners and other stakeholders.
Report of the Non-Emergency Patient Transport Review
The review report sets out a new national framework for non-emergency patient transport services to support them in becoming consistently more responsive, fair and sustainable.
The new national framework has five components: more consistent eligibility; improved wider transport support; greater transparency on performance; a path to net zero carbon emissions; and improved procurement and contracting.
Specific measures include:
- A new universal transport support offer for patients travelling to and from renal dialysis as part of the updated national eligibility standards
- Redesigning access to the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme to make it easier for people on a low income to claim back journey costs
- A commitment to 100% zero emissions journeys by 2035; except for ambulance journeys and volunteers driving their own cars which are being considered through the wider net zero transport strategy
It confirms that Integrated Care Systems will be responsible for patient transport from April 2022, subject to legislation.
Implementation and next steps
NHS England and NHS Improvement has established a dedicated NEPTS review implementation programme, led by a small team. The team will work closely with transport providers, patient groups, local health systems, and regional teams to deliver these actions.
We encourage you to sign up for the Improving Non-Emergency Patient Transport Services FutureNHS workspace, which acts as the platform for continued engagement on implementation. This includes more detailed proposals for national data collection, core standards for NEPTS and commissioning best practice principles. The FutureNHS platform is open to all, whether or not you work in the NHS. To register, as well as for wider enquiries, please email the Review Implementation programme: firstname.lastname@example.org
Separately to the review, NHS England and NHS Improvement are also reviewing NEPTS infection prevention and control measures, in line with Government guidance and timelines.
The review was supported by an Expert Advisory Group. Members included:
- Caroline Abrahams (Age UK)
- Anna Parry (Association of Ambulance Chief Executives)
- Russell Hobbs (G4S Patient Transport)
- Peter George-Jones (Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust)
- Imelda Redmond (Healthwatch)
- Alan Howson (Independent Ambulance Association)
- Fiona Loud (Kidney Care UK)
- Peter Kottlar (Sussex CCGs)
- Rod Barnes (Yorkshire Ambulance Service)
We also drew on the contributions of patients and sector representatives using a call for evidence, roundtable meetings and a series of workshops throughout 2020 and 2021.