How can we improve the hospital transport experience for cancer patients?

In the next idea from Let’s talk cancer, we look at how the hospital transport service can be improved for people affected by cancer.

This week on Click on Wales we’re featuring a series of practitioner responses to ideas to improve cancer care in Wales, crowdsourced between June and July 2015 through the IWA’s Let’s talk cancer project. Over 6 weeks patients and their carers posted their idea for how to make things better for those affected by cancer in Wales. In all we had around 100 ideas submitted. We’ve taken these ideas to a panel of practitioners who have given their responses to the 12 ideas we shortlisted using voting on the website. Here’s what they’ve said. We’ll be using the responses to help inform our final report which we’ll publish in September.

Hospital transport notification, suggested by John Greenaway

The suggested improvement is an automated text or email when they collect the previous patient and are on their way to you. It would let people get ready in time. Similar to the mobile apps taxi companies use (Dragon Taxis, or Uber). Ideally it would also say what the transport is (ambulance/taxi licence plate) so you can look out for it. Obviously it depends on the back end booking/scheduling system used, but if taxi firms can do it, it shouldn’t be beyond possible. It would have obvious benefits for the users – less waiting/uncertainty, but would likely also pay itself back in time gained for the drivers from people being ready & prepared on time.

Nick Smith, Interim Assistant Director of Operations, Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust

Work has been undertaken over the past 6 months to develop our scheduling systems to allow us to use texting services.  We are please to say we have just successfully completed testing and that Phase 1 will go live during September 2015.   Phase 1 will commence in Hywel Dda, Cardiff & Vale University Health Boards and Velinre NHS Trust followed quickly across all areas of Wales.

Phase 1 involves the ambulance service sending a confirmation text immediately after transport is booked with a second text sent 48 hours before transport is due to attend. A final text will be sent either on the morning or the afternoon to alert the patient that an ambulance is on its way.

Phase 2 which will be during early 2016 will be more sophisticated and will allow a 15 minute “put your coat on” text and allow two way texting to allow a text to be sent by the patient to cancel transport without the need to ring the booking centre.

Phil White (GP):

I believe that some patients opt for hospital transport as they do not have the funds to get to distant treatment centres. Most would prefer to get around under their own steam and their own time scale, but hospital transport is free if often not timely or convenient.

What are your views on this idea? How can we improve the hospital transport experience for cancer patients? We want to hear what you think in the comment section below.

2 thoughts on “How can we improve the hospital transport experience for cancer patients?

  1. What we need is a range of options for transport ,depending on the patient circumstances. We dont always need to deploy an ambulance
    We could have car service, a minibus service, small sit up ambulances and keep the bigger ones for emergency and serious need.
    In Denmark, Falck is currently in charge of 65 percent of municipality fire brigades and 85 percent of ambulance services.[4] In 1926, the Danish government allowed municipal governments to contract with private companies to provide emergency services.

  2. There are also some great examples of local voluntary sector groups organising transport to and from treatment. I think there is a real need to map out ‘who is doing what’ at the moment and look at where provisions need to be developed further.

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