NSL Care Services went live with its Patient Transport Service in Kent and Medway on Monday 1st July. Unforeseen challenges during the transition phase of this large contract resulted in us providing an unsatisfactory service to some of our patients in Kent.
We are keenly aware that many patients have a vital dependence on our transport to get them to their essential medical appointments. We are deeply sorry to those patients we let down this week by failing to pick them up on time, or in a few cases, at all.
This level of service is far below the level to which we aspire and falls far short of what we provide to our patients in other areas.
On the very first day, as soon as it became clear that there were problems, we started work with commissioners and the provider trusts in Kent and Medway to improve the service for patients.
We immediately commissioned significant additional resources: vehicles, crew, and call-centre staff to rectify these failures. We have also altered rosters to ensure maximum levels of call takers at peak times, and laid extra cables to boost call capacity. By Monday 8 July, there will be 40 per cent more call handlers to receive bookings. Online booking of transport for NHS staff is available and more users are being given access to the system to increase efficiency. Hospital trusts have also been given their own dedicated transport booking number.
All of this has led to a considerable improvement over the past few days. We are confident that this unacceptable first week shall soon be behind us, and that our patients in Kent will soon experience the same high standards that we deliver elsewhere.
Alastair Cooper, MD, NSL Care Services