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Who are we supporting?

We’re supporting the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust, working in collaboration with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Gwynedd Council and Wrexham Council, who all provide free transport to enable their clients to access NHS/social care or education services, with £15,000 in grant funding.

What’s the idea?

Working with ODI Cardiff, the collaboration will explore how they might use their collective data to redesign the way that health and social care transport is delivered. They’ll look at where resources can be pooled, shared or used more efficiently and how this might improve the service that patients and other people who use the services might receive.

Why is this important?

NHS and local authority social care and special educational needs transport services work independently of one another, resulting in duplication of resource, functions and associated costs.The Trust has identified that the integration of health and local authority transport could drive user experience up and drive costs down.

The challenge is to identify the actual service and cost improvements that might come from integrating health and local authority transport in two geographical locations in North Wales. In addition, the project aims to explore the forces that are keeping these services apart, helping to develop robust and sustainable solutions.

Should they meet their challenge, they will not only be able to deliver local service, quality and performance improvements, but also be able to produce an all-Wales blueprint, holding indicative improvement trajectories across the country.

How are they hoping to save money and improve services?

Health and social care transport users could benefit from the reinvestment of some savings to improve:

  • Call centre support – more staff to respond to travel bookings, queries and concerns
  • Access - single point perhaps
  • Online booking and vehicle tracking facilities
  • Improved timeliness – arrival and departure
  • Shorter travel times for some users through optimisation of resources
  • Fleet age and design
  • Improved vehicle facilities – e.g. onboard WiFi, TV, refreshments
  • Improved safety
  • Improved signposting to appropriate alternatives to promote independence.

Owing to the current lack of cost and activity data it is difficult to anticipate the actual value of savings, however, the project understands from previous reviews (for example, North Wales Transforming Transport Project) that the six local authorities in North Wales spent circa £50m in 2012, and that at that time projections of £4m (8 per cent) over a three-year period were identified as achievable within these local authorities alone.

Adding health to the equation - circa £5m per annum (2015/16) - and if they are able to deliver the same eight per cent efficiency savings across the board, then this would equate at today's rates at circa £5m, or £1.6m per annum in North Wales alone.