A new provider for Non-Emergency Patient Transport in Sussex

April 5, 2024

Following a detailed procurement process including robust and thorough validation checks, NHS Sussex has appointed ERS Transition Limited, trading as EMED Group, to be the new provider of Non-Emergency Patient Transport Services (NEPTS) for the people in Sussex.

Announcement by Sussex Health and Care (3.4.24)

“ERS Transition Limited trading as EMED Group announced as the new provider of Non-Emergency Patient Transport Services in Sussex.

“The service is due to go live on 01 April 2025 and will be a new service model that offers a range of benefits including:

  • the development of a single point of co-ordination for all patients seeking transport to secondary care services. This contact centre will operate seven-days-a-week, including public and bank holidays;
  • provision of an expanded and more responsive transport service running for at least 12 hours a day, seven days a week, to support patients and discharged from hospital;
  • provision of improved services for mental health patients, including those detained under the Mental Health Act, enabling transport to and from all secondary and tertiary services;
  • use of modern technology to improve patient experience including mobile phone apps or web portals that will be able to provide regular updates on the location of vehicles so that patients, their family, carers, and hospital ward staff know when their transport should arrive;
  • improved accessibility of the service including a translation service, support for those with visual or hearing impairment, availability of specialist equipment, accommodation of escorts on journeys, and flexibility of drop off locations; and
  • collaborative working with the wider health and care system.

“Extensive engagement with people who use current services, clinicians, Healthwatch in Sussex, and our acute, mental health and community hospital trusts, all helped to shape the new service, as well as the latest national guidance.

“The contract is for a term of five years, and we now move into a 12-month mobilisation period to ensure the new service can go live on 01 April 2025. During this time, we will also continue to work with the current provider, South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) to ensure a safe and effective handover to the EMED Group.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank SCAS for their commitment to non-emergency patient transport services over the last five years, and the support that they have provided to the system and our Sussex population.

“We are committed to keeping patients, staff, healthcare providers and stakeholders fully informed along the mobilisation journey to service launch and will work with all partners over the year ahead.”

The announcement can also be read on the Sussex Health and Care website here

– our involvement

Over the last year, Healthwatch has worked closely with Sussex NHS Commissioners to ensure that what patients told us in 2020, regarding improvements to the current service, were reflected in the revised Service Specification for the new contract, which will go live in April 2025.

Commissioners for NEPTS have welcomed both Healthwatch and additional patient representation into their work when developing the new contract. They invited Healthwatch to join the NEPTS Communications and Engagement Task and Finish Group, through which we were able to influence the final wording and requirements set out in the Service Specification.

Healthwatch has also evaluated bids to deliver the new contract, along with other patient representation. Our focus has been on how well any new provider will keep patients informed about where their transport is; the ease with which patients will be able to track their vehicles; the establishment of regular patient forums (to deliver ongoing improvement); the provision of alternative services for those who are ineligible for NEPTS and the correct application of eligibility criteria.

Read more about our involvement here.

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