Patients needing transport to and from NHS appointments and treatments have been told they will benefit from a new and improved service this year.

NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly integrated care board (ICB) has announced that the NHS patient-funded transport (NEPTS) contract has been awarded to Health Transportation Group UK (HTG-UK).

A funded transport service, which is commissioned by the ICB, is provided to eligible people to get them to and from NHS appointments and treatments.

For the first time there will be an integrated service under the management of one provider, these services include:

• Non-emergency patient transport

• Transport for residents of the Isles of Scilly, both to and from the islands.

• A car service catering to frequent travellers, such as renal dialysis patients

• Transport options for individuals who require a qualified crew to accompany them (referred to as high dependency, non-emergency transfers)

• Specialist mental health transport. The NHS fund transport for those who meet the criteria, as set out in the patient transport policy and medical need assessments.

This new contract marks the integration of all NEPTS services for the first time in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. HTG-UK’s contract also included the provision of employment opportunities throughout Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and plans to deliver this include working in collaboration with established local transport partners such as Therapeutic Response, Lifestar, TAP (Age UK), and A2B taxis.

John Groom, NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly ICB director of integrated care and project senior responsible officer, said: “This new contract is set to provide a truly integrated transport offer for local people who rely on this vital service to attend their NHS appointments. 

“Working with HTG-UK we are committed to providing an efficient, reliable, and suitable transport service to residents across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.  

 Derek Laird, chief executive of HTG-UK, added: “We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded the contract to provide non-emergency patient transport by NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly ICB. 

“We are really looking forward to working with all stakeholders and introducing many new initiatives. 

“A major element of our bid focused on working with key transport partners within the local area and we are already underway with establishing these relationships. 

“We believe the new contract will deliver a step-change improvement for patients in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.”

The ICB and HTG-UK will work together to ensure that people who rely on patient transport will be kept informed as the new service is implemented from July 1, 2024.

Patients will transfer to the new provider without needing to change their booking or do anything differently. 

The contact number of transport service also remains the same and patients can continue to book by calling 01872 252211.