What we offer
Our experience of delivering a high-quality service throughout the Patient Transport Service (PTS) contracts that we operate means we can be flexible and responsive to the changing needs of our patients and commissioning organisations.
We care for patients with varying needs and mobilities including dialysis, bariatric, oncology, special care baby units, do not attempt resuscitation orders (DNAR), mental health and patients with infectious diseases.
With 1,128 employees and 451 ambulances operating from over 30 locations across the UK we have the resources and expertise to deliver an efficient service with outstanding patient experience.
Patients with complex or special needs are often the most vulnerable and require a service that is tailored to ensure they receive the required level of care.
Below are some examples of the many groups of patients we care for and how we adapt our service to meet their needs:
Dialysis patients are our most frequent users of the service and often they are also the most vulnerable.
We understand the impact that dialysis has on a patient’s life as well as the lives of their relatives and friends. It can be intrusive, uncomfortable and leave patients feeling sick and tired so ensuring their transport is safe, caring and efficient helps to minimise the impact of their treatment.
We have created a tailored service based on our many years of experience working with dialysis patients. This group of patients require regular and planned transport and our policy is to wherever possible provide dedicated drivers so that they can build relationships with each individual. This also allows our drivers to get to know patients so they can identify any uncharacteristic signs and raise any concerns with clinical staff.
Our drivers are also trained to understand individual patient needs and to protect their dignity and confidentiality.
Dedicated Dialysis Co-ordinators provide additional support through daily engagement with dialysis units examining patient lists, journey patterns and scheduled transport times to ensure the service runs smoothly for both the unit and patients. The Co-ordinator also spends time with patients listening to their needs so we can continuously improve the service we provide for them.
We have been caring for bariatric patients for over 15 years and have a full understanding of their requirements.
We have invested in the latest bariatric vehicles, capable of carrying patients up to 75 stone, as well as equipment including carry chairs, safety belt extensions, stretchers and wheelchairs, all designed specifically for bariatric patients. Our ambulances also have electronic winches so that patients can get on and off the vehicle safely and with dignity.
A full assessment is carried out before transport is booked for a bariatric patient. We assess where the patient lives, any access issues and if additional support is required. For example, if a patient needs to be taken up or down stairs we make sure there are the right number of Ambulance Care Assistants to support and, if necessary, we will also ensure a carpenter is on hand to help the patient through smaller entrances.
We have clear guidelines for bariatric patient transport and all our employees are trained in the safe handling of bariatric patients.
The drivers will also get to know the patients, meaning that they are better able to care for them safely and with dignity.
Our procedures ensure sufficient time is given for each bariatric patient and will include:
- Identifying and using the correct vehicle for the patient’s needs
- Providing sufficient planning time to complete a risk assessment and allocate specialist equipment and staff
- Spending time with the patient, providing reassurance and explaining the process that is to take place, who will be involved and what will happen
- Ensuring Ambulance Care Assistants have sufficient time to undertake the task safely are able to act calmly to the situations as they occur
- Our staff take the patient’s safety and dignity into consideration at all times and in every decision they make
- Completing a detailed handover with the clinical staff and ensuring a seamless service is delivered to the patient.
Patients with mental health condition
Patients with a mental health condition can require a very different type of care to those people who are receiving treatment for physical conditions.
Patients who are receiving treatment for mental health issues can become confused, unpredictable and sometimes aggressive and therefore we have a robust safeguarding policy in place to ensure the safety of both the patient and our staff.
We know that Ambulance Care Assistants become an integral part of a patient’s treatment and, as much as possible, we ensure they are transported by the same crew as this familiarity provides a great deal of reassurance. Patients receiving treatment for a mental health condition can have complex personal circumstances and our crews are sometimes able to provide information to clinical staff that might otherwise not become known to them.
Our experience has shown that these patients can require specially-trained carers and we ensure only crews that are fully qualified in this area are allocated for this type of journey.
Before any journey we will undertake a risk assessment to fully understand the patient’s care requirements which may be done in conjunction with healthcare partners where a patient is considered acutely unwell or presents a risk to themselves or staff. This ensures informed decisions can be made in order to offer the most appropriate and safe transport solution.
We are committed and focussed to ensure that the needs of patients with mental health disorders or conditions are considered just as much as the needs of those with physical health illnesses. This is called ‘Parity of Esteem’ and involves working closely with our healthcare partners to ensure appropriate care is in place to improve service and outcomes.
The nature and definition of ‘high dependency’ can vary but it is generally considered to be an individual service to patients that involves special needs or additional monitoring/observations during the journey.
Our IHCD-qualified Ambulance Technicians can provide this increased level of support to safely transport potentially unstable patients whose condition is not immediately life-threatening.
IHCD Ambulance Technicians are able to:
- Assess clinical status
- Monitor and recognise deterioration in a wide range of medical conditions
- Make decisions and take appropriate action, for example maintaining ABC, suction, administration of un-prescribed oxygen, pain relief (including Entonox), infusion care and defibrillation
- Blue-light drive (IHCD D1/D2 qualified)
- Record patient observations and provide a relevant, clear and concise clinical handover
- At all points weigh up the risks of continuing to A&E versus the risks of calling for paramedic assistance, and being adequately trained to safely continue to A&E in most cases
High dependency care can be offered with or without an accompanying medical escort.