Quality of patient transport makes a huge difference to patient experience, and I was interested to read the high-level results of the National Kidney Care Audit’s patient transport survey, which have now been published. The NHS Information Centre, who are carrying out the audit, surveyed all renal unit haemodialysis patients last October about their experience of patient transport services.
Overall, over 60 per cent of patients have said that transport services met their needs. This is a good starting point, but there’s still much to do. In particular it identifies that patients are having to wait for dialysis once their transport has taken them to hospital, and that many patients using their own cars have to pay for parking.
Transport to and from haemodialysis is a major part of the experience of care. The action learning sets sponsored as part of the NSF by the Department of Health set a travel time of 30 minutes. According to the survey, 33 per cent of patients in England had to travel over 30 minutes to their dialysis which indicates that in most units action is needed to achieve this standard.
I am told by the project team that detailed results will be released in summer. This will be through an online system that will allow units to undertake detailed analysis, giving them some really rich and valuable data. The NHS Information Centre will also be releasing a national report on the patient transport results at that time.
I hope to see these results used to bring about positive changes, for instance to help set endorsed national standards for patient transport services. I also think the survey results will be invaluable for the renal community. I would now like to see everyone working locally to make sure it is used to drive improvements to services.