Arriva Patient Transport Service

Arriva Patient Transport in Greater Manchester is failing vulnerable people and leading to poor quality care, according to a survey by a local health watchdog.

The news comes following a survey of nearly 575 patients throughout Greater Manchester by the Greater Manchester Healthwatch Network. Healthwatch Bury is also a part of Greater Manchester Healthwatch Network.

The research found that time keeping is a major problem with the service, provided by Arriva Transport Solutions, with half of patients saying that they did not get to their appointment on time and in Oldham and Stockport over 65% of patients said the service got them to their appointment late. In the Tameside area, which reported the lowest level of late arrivals, 37% were still late for their appointment. Many reported that this late arrival led to missing appointments or having their medical care adversely affected.

Large numbers of patients also said that they waited in excess of 90 minutes before they were taken home following their appointment. For patients, when combined with a delay in getting to their appointment this can make a short medical appointment turn into a very long day away from home.

Shockingly, one patient reported that they spent nearly nine hours from beginning to end, including 5 hours overall waiting for their transport to and from the hospital, arriving nearly 2 hours late for their appointment and getting home close to 8pm in the evening.

Peter Denton, speaking for the Greater Manchester Healthwatch network said:

“Timing of journeys must be our biggest concern with the Patient Transport Service. Two thirds of patients said they were more than 30 minutes late for their appointments and we heard of several instances where patients were so late that their important medical appointment didn’t go ahead or their treatment had to be cut short.

“Not only is this worrying in terms of the patients’ health outcomes but it can also lead to a waste of NHS resources as hospitals and clinics try to rearrange activity around patients who arrive late, through no fault of their own.

“Although many people told us that they had experienced difficulties with this service, it is important for us to recognise that the vast majority also said that the front line staff they dealt with were very good.

“We are calling on Arriva and the commissioners of this service to make improvements so that our local populations receive the good quality, safe and worry-free service they are entitled to.”

In addition to issues with timeliness, over half of patients said they didn’t know where to get information about the Patient Transport Service, meaning that many vulnerable people who are eligible for the service are unlikely to know about it.

The research also found communication to be a common problem with patients reporting poor communication in terms of booking, journey planning, having the right accessible vehicle available and not knowing how to complain.

Please see the final report attached below.


Greater Manchester Healthwatch Arriva Patient Transport Service Survey and Report