We appreciate that people have been particularly concerned about both emergency and nonemergency transport and we have received and responded to a number of queries regarding transport. As a result, we worked with South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWAST) and transport leads from the three local authorities (Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset) to review the travel times, data and approach that was developed within the CSR design phase.
In August, we published an independent report by South West Ambulance Service Trust (SWAST) – ‘Dorset Clinical Services Review: Modelling the Potential Impact on the Emergency Ambulance Service’.
SWAST undertook modelling based on the proposed options to ascertain whether they could continue to deliver a safe service following implementation of the CSR. The modelling concluded with a report offering assurance on the proposals. The ambulance service has undertaken detailed work to better understand the likely impact of the hospital changes within Dorset. The model developed showed that the average journey time to hospital remained very similar to what it is now. For many patients, the journey to hospital will either be the same or even quicker. Some patients will have to travel further to a specialist centre, in order to get the best possible care. Given the rural nature of the County of Dorset, paramedics are experienced at safely transporting patients for longer distances to hospital.
Adrian South, Clinical Director for SWAST has said “I’ve looked closely at how these plans might affect ambulance services in Dorset and how they might affect patients and I’m confident that the plans will improve emergency care by allowing the ambulance service to take patients safely and quickly to the best hospital where they will receive the best care. We will also reduce transfers of patients between hospitals, instead they should go to the right hospital from the start.”
We hope that this report reassures people that these proposals are designed to ensure that people get the best possible care and that we are focusing on getting the best outcomes for people in Dorset using these services in future. This report demonstrates that, through public consultation, we have listened to those people who expressed their concerns about having to travel further or for longer to get emergency care.
The Local Authorities focussed on non-emergency travel times. Transport planning leads were also able to independently assure our travel times and approach and present their findings within a report.
The resulting analysis indicates that CSR travel times are within similar and acceptable parameters to the routing software and analytical tools used in local authority transport planning activities. The results were found to be consistent across all travel comparators for acute and community based healthcare services. Sense checks on the results using digital mapping confirm that the travel times used are a reasonable approximation from which to draw conclusions for travel associated with the CSR proposals.
The full Transport Review Report is available online.
A Transport Reference Group has been established to develop joint transport plans in support of a system-wide Integrated Transport Programme of work. This programme is a collaboration between health, local authorities and community and voluntary services.
We will continue to work closely with SWAST and the local authorities to ensure we address the implementation requirements and needs of the CSR.