Greater Manchester Arriva Patient Transport Survey Report

Initially Healthwatch Oldham identified that a number of complaints about access to the service, eligibility and patient information had been received by the local Patient Advice and Liaison (PALS). This resulted in this joint project.
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A questionnaire was developed by Healthwatch Oldham and built on work done by some Greater Manchester LINks who had looked at patient transport in previous years. The questionnaire was considered by Healthwatch Chairs and Managers from local Healthwatch organisations across Greater Manchester. Nine local Healthwatch agreed to proceed with the survey as a joint piece of work.

Key Findings


  • The eligibility criteria need to be clearly communicated and advertised
  • Details of the booking process need to be clearly communicated and advertised
  • Service users need to be given clear information about the criteria for waiting times in order that they can accurately judge if they have been waiting too long for transport.

Safety, Quality and Accessibility of Service:

  • The telephone booking centres need to give consideration to patient’s frustrations and either ensure they are sufficiently well staffed at peak teams and/or give consideration to providing a choice of booking methods (text, online, telephone)
  • A thorough examination of waiting times needs to be made. Such an examination should consider the patients perspectives, the health care providers perspectives and frontline staff perspectives as well as considering recorded management data
  • Remedial action is required to ensure that appointments are not missed, and excessive waits for return transport do not continue to occur frequently
  • There are particular concerns about patients on dialysis who need regular, timed, life-saving treatment. It is our understanding that this group are covered by supplementary criteria in the contract, we recommend that the Commissioner makes a detailed examination of how the service is working for these patients and clear recommendations for improvements
  • The use of taxis as alternative patient transport should be avoided, where it is necessary to use a taxi, it should be a) with the consent of patients and b) ensure accessible vehicles


  • Complaints process needs to be clearly explained and advertised in order that people can voice their concerns via the appropriate channels
  • A clear understanding of the procurement criteria for taxi firms needs to be made public
The hospital just seem to accept that if you came by ambulance you would be late.
— survey respondent


Greater Manchester Arriva Patient Transport Survey Report June 2014