Posted by Amanda Crawford at 23/12/2015 10:11:32
Following a long and thorough procurement process, Kent and Medway clinical commissioning groups have agreed to award the contract for patient transport services to G4S from 1 July 2016.
G4S is being awarded three contracts, which together cover every aspect of the patient transport service for Kent and Medway, after being rated top in all three bids by an evaluation by patients, hospital and community NHS staff and commissioners.
The service, which provides free transport for people whose medical condition means they cannot get to or from hospital in any other way, is currently provided by NSL.
Ian Ayres, Chief Officer for NHS West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) which led the procurement on behalf of all the Kent and Medway CCGs and the CCGs in Bexley and Bromley, said: “I am delighted to announce that, after a rigorous and thorough procurement process, we are today awarding G4S all three contracts for the Patient Transport Service in Kent and Medway.
“They are to provide non-emergency patient transport for eligible patients in Kent and Medway excluding Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust; renal patients requiring dialysis; and Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust patients.
“All are awarded primarily on quality, which counted for 65 per cent in our evaluation. Cost was a secondary though still important consideration, accounting for 35 per cent of the final score.
“There were six bidders in all, several bidding for more than one contract. G4S came top on quality for all three contracts by a significant margin, and was lowest on price for one of them.
“G4S has a good track record of delivering high-quality patient transport services across the country, including in London, Essex and Surrey.
“We look forward to working with them and with NSL to ensure a smooth transition.”
All three contracts run for six years with the option to extend by another three. They are worth close to £90million in total over the six years.
They include transporting Kent and Medway patients to and from London hospitals and transporting eligible Bexley and Bromley patients to and from Kent and Medway hospitals. NHS Bexley and NHS Bromley Clinical Commissioning Groups are signed associates to all three contracts.
G4S will take over when the NSL contract finishes on 30 June. Drivers and other staff employed by NSL are being invited to transfer across.
It is expected there will be around 316,000 patient journeys in the first year and nearly two million during the six years covered by the contracts.
Mr Ayres said: “We learned a great deal from the previous procurement of Patient Transport Services in 2012, undertaken when clinical commissioning groups were forming. This time the procurement process was much more thorough and we were advised throughout by an expert who had experience in running a patient transport service and, as a result, had a really good understanding of the operational issues that need to be addressed.
“We also have much greater clarity about the requirements of the hospital trusts and much better data on patient journeys.
“The engagement with patients was more robust too. Patients who had used the service created a charter setting out expectations of a good patient transport service and this helped to form the specifications.
“A patient representative and other members of the evaluation panels visited premises for all the bidders, went out with crews to watch them at work with patients, listened to how their call centres handle bookings and interviewed staff from hospitals using the service. Patients were also part of the evaluation panels, interviewing bidders.”
Three areas were considered for the quality score: service delivery; management process; and patient experience and safety.
Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust has its own contract because the unique positioning of the trust on the outskirts of London and the complexities regarding potential population growth in the surrounding area meant that a decision was made by the Patient Transport Service Board to procure this element of patient transport as a separate lot.
NHS West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group plans and buys healthcare for the people of Maidstone, Tonbridge and Malling, Tunbridge Wells and the southern part of Sevenoaks.