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Delivering a vital service in a complex environment

Non-emergency patient transport is a complex service that requires precision logistics says commercial director for G4S healthcare services, Craig Smith. 

Non-emergency patient transport is a complex service, with many factors affecting delivery including the wide range of mobilities, locations, and an ever increasing demand, all of which present a significant logistical challenge. 

Our team manages thousands of journeys every week, to a host of locations across Kent, London and the South East. Hampered by traffic congestion and last minute journey requests we do our best to make sure that everyone arrives at their appointment within 75 minutes – and currently 4 out of every 5 patients attend their appointments within this window. That compares with 68 per cent when we took over the contract, since when we’ve been able to lift our performance despite the number of journeys and length of journeys being above what we or the NHS forecast. We are working with the clinical commissioning groups in Kent to tackle this increasing complexity and meet the patients’ needs, which are far more acute than anticipated, to make the service as efficient and effective as possible. 

Like any service, things do go wrong and when they do our complaints team work hard to resolve any issues.  In July this year, we delivered a total of 27,023 journeys, with only 22 patients raising formal complaints with our team and in a recent patient survey, 635 patients out of 730 said they would recommend our service to their friends or family. 

We recognise that there are still too many complaints and that some people have received a poor service on too many occasions.  I am sorry for the inconvenience we have caused to them and their family and friends and we are working flat out to improve our performance to ensure it meets the needs of communities across Kent and Medway. 

Craig Smith is the commercial director for G4S healthcare services, responsible for non-emergency patient transport in Kent and Medway.