Patients suffer as Arriva misses targets

One of the Arriva ambulances
One of the Arriva ambulances

A BUS company that runs part of Wigan’s ambulance service has missed key performance targets every month since taking over the contract.

Arriva Transport Solutions has been providing non-emergency transport in the borough since April 2013 after winning the contract from the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS). The private firm undercut NWAS by £3.5m to secure the deal.

But Arriva failed to meet key contractual targets every month from April to October last year, around getting patients to hospital appointments on time and picking people up to take them home.

The number of complaints across Greater Manchester is around four times higher than in other parts of the North West, where NWAS still provides the service.

As part of the ‘core’ contract demands, Arriva must drop 90 per cent of patients off for appointments between 45 minutes early and 15 minutes late.

But the figures reveal it only managed 67pc in April, 62pc in May, 60pc in June, 64pc in July, 66pc in August, 67pc in September and 63pc in October.

Arriva is also supposed to pick up 80pc of patients to take them home within 60 minutes of the scheduled collection time.

But it only managed 73pc in April, 71pc in May, 68pc in June, 69pc in July, 71 pc in August, 73pc in September and 70pc in October.

Targets for dropping outpatients off for appointments more than 15 minutes late were also missed every month. Its target was under 15pc of patients – but in October, 33pc of patients were more than 15 minutes late.

The firm was also supposed to pick up 90pc of patients going home within 90 minutes of scheduled collection times. It missed the target every month but April.

Arriva also runs an ‘enhanced priority service’ for patients needing cancer treatments or kidney dialysis.

Arriva missed its targets for getting patients to hospital on time for that service every month – although it met most of the others, including travel time on vehicles and collection from hospital for journeys home.

Bosses at Arriva say they are currently hitting 20 out of the 26 contract targets – but accept they still need to improve in key areas.

Dennis Hajdukiewicz, of Arriva Transport Solutions, said: “As a business, we are absolutely committed to delivering the quality standards required.

“We are meeting the majority of these standards, but recognise that there are still some key areas where we need to improve and we are focused on delivering these improvements.

“We are helping and supporting NHS staff to make bookings for the right vehicle for the mobility of the patient and ensure patients are ready to travel when we arrive at hospitals.

“We have recruited 60 new staff, increasing our workforce by 27 per cent, introduced liaison officers at some hospitals to coordinate patients and placed dedicated vehicles in areas where patient numbers are highest.”