Action over issues with transport for kidney patients

Coun Peter Gruen
Coun Peter Gruen
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Councillors have been told how changes to NHS transport for kidney patients led to a catalogue of issues.

Ambulance bosses have now taken action following the problems, which included some patients waiting hours to be picked up after dialysis treatment.

Members of Leeds City Council’s Adult Social Services, Health and NHS Scrutiny Board investigated after being contacted by the West Riding Kidney Patients’ Association over problems with the service this summer.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) operates patient transport across West Yorkshire for renal patients, who often have to travel for gruelling kidney dialysis several days a week.

Earlier this year, changes were made to the Patient Transport Service including combining rotas and planning desks as well as using a system to organise journeys.

However this had affected the service, so the number of complaints and concerns increased from 19 in May to 51 in June and 68 in July.

Paul Taylor, secretary of the West Riding Kidney Patients’ Association, said: “Some patients were turning up before the unit opened, or arriving one or two hours late. Some were coming off treatment at 5pm and still being there at 10pm.”

Coun Peter Gruen, chairman of the scrutiny board, said YAS and the NHS commissioners had been asked to put together an urgent recovery plan. Since the issue was raised, problems have reduced and the service is now meeting targets.

He said YAS had not consulted sufficiently about the changes, but had taken action: “Having realised things were not up to scratch, they have put their hands up, engaged and put it right.”

The board asked for another update early next year.