Changes to our non-emergency Patient Transport Service to support COVID-19 planning

27 March 2020

non-emergency Patient Transport Service vehicle

As part of the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (YAS) response to COVID-19, its non-emergency Patient Transport Service (PTS) will suspend all routine journeys to non-essential clinics and outpatient appointments from Saturday 28 March 2020 until further notice.

Journeys for patients who need essential life-saving treatment such as renal dialysis, chemotherapy and radiotherapy will continue and steps will be taken to ensure social distancing is maintained. This includes seating patients away from crews and from each other, and asking patients to wear protective face masks.

These steps will improve the availability of PTS resources for its most vulnerable patients and ensure they can be transported as safely as possible. It will also enable PTS to increase hospital discharges to free up inpatient and critical care capacity in preparation for the increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients who will need hospital care in the coming weeks.

Chris Dexter, Managing Director of PTS for YAS, said: “This decision has not been taken lightly and we know this is a worrying time for our patients, staff, volunteers and partner providers.

“The number of our outpatient journeys has already reduced as hospitals have begun cancelling appointments and undertaking telephone consultations, and patients are choosing to self-isolate or socially distance themselves.

“We need to ensure that our most vulnerable patients are protected whilst receiving essential treatment to prevent additional pressure within hospitals. These measures will enable us to do this as well as supporting our own workforce when they start to become affected in this national emergency. Any additional capacity will be used to support acute trusts to discharge patients well enough to return home.

“I would like to take this opportunity to convey my sincere thanks to all our PTS staff and volunteers who are working tirelessly during these challenging times.”

Patients with existing bookings are being contacted to advise them to make other arrangements and PTS is working with healthcare partners to ensure that demand is appropriately managed.

Patients who have any concerns about their journeys should ring PTS on 0300 330 2000.

In line with the Government’s advice on reducing social contact, patients who are considering making their own way to essential appointments with a family member or friend, should not be accompanied into the healthcare facility unless absolutely necessary.

Produced by: Corporate Communications Department