A green drive to your NHS appointment

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PATIENTS in Lincolnshire, who are eligible for free NHS transport to their appointments, will be driven in a new fleet of environmentally friendly vehicles from next year.

The vehicles will be equipped with sat nav and text messaging pick-up reminders.

Under the proposed new arrangements all non-emergency patient transport in Lincolnshire is set to be operated by NSL Ltd once contract details are finalised.

NSL Ltd was the new preferred bidder following a ten-month tendering process by East Midlands Procurement and Commissioning Transformation, the NHS commissioning support unit working on behalf of the region’s primary care trusts.

Longstanding national rules on who is eligible for free transport will be applied fairly and firmly to help ensure that only patients with a genuine medical need receive the NHS funded service. They are assessed using a set of national criteria.

Most patients make their own arrangements for getting to and from treatment, often helped by family and friends. But there are other patients who have a genuine clinical need for NHS-funded transport because of the severity of their condition, and who have no alternative means to access vital treatment.

The contract award is subject to a mandatory standstill period of ten days which expires on Monday. NHS Lincolnshire will aim to conclude the contracts after expiry of the standstill period.

Existing patient transport employees in the East Midlands will be eligible for jobs with the new operators under the same terms and conditions as their current employment contracts.