With a new Transport Booking Centre open for business, there's a new way for Pembrokeshire patients needing to book a hospital car or non-emergency ambulance.
Joanne Rees-Thomas from the Wales Ambulance Service attended the recent Pembrokeshire Community Transport Forum to explain the new arrangements.
Patients needing to arrange hospital transport should contact the Transport Booking Centre on 0844 87 00 888 when they receive their first appointment letter. The Booking Centre is open from 8.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. Monday to Thursday and from 8.30 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. on Friday.
At least one week's notice is required, in general. However, if you have been sent an urgent appointment and you cannot give a week's notice the Transport Booking Centre should still be able to help - please ring them as soon as possible.
The new Booking Centre means that patients no longer need to request hospital transport via their GP. Healthcare bosses hope that this will give everyone fair and consistent access to the service.
Who is eligible for Hospital Transport?
Ms Rees-Thomas reassured patients that the eligibility criteria had not changed.
Patients are eligible for free hospital transport if their medical condition means that they require the skills of ambulance staff on or for the journey and/or if it would be detrimental to their condition or recovery if they were to travel by any other means.
For example this includes:
patients that need oxygen or medical gases during transport
patients receiving regular dialysis or cancer treatment
patients that cannot walk without continual support
patients that cannot use public transport because their medical condition would compromise their dignity or cause public concern if they used public transport, or because they have severe communication difficulties, or because they will experience side effects as a result of their medical treatment or condition that means that public transport is not suitable.
Carers and Escorts on Hospital Transport
Carers / Escorts will be considered if the patient's condition is such that they require constant attention or support.
Patient that have severe communication difficulties, such as profound deafness or speech difficulties
Patients with mental health conditions that makes it unsuitable for them to travel unaccompanied.
It is a first referral and a carer is attending to provide support to the patient.
Patients receiving renal dialysis or oncology treatment.
If a carer or escort is needed, please discuss this with the Transport Booking Centre when you request the transport.
The Transport Booking Centre number is 0844 87 00 888.
Please note: The Booking Centre deals with first hospital appointments only. Transport for subsequent appointments should be booked directly with the hospital.