Patient Transport Services Update

Please see below the latest update from North East Ambulance Service about transport services for patients.


North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) continues to follow government guidance to ensure that the NHS can support people who need to go to hospital. We are providing transport safely and swiftly during the COVID-19 pandemic, for those who need to attend appointments because of a life-threatening condition. Patients calling 999 for an emergency ambulance will be provided with a face mask, unless this compromises their care; for example, when being given oxygen.

For non-emergency transport to hospital appointments or clinics, patients need to play their part by using their own face covering, over their mouth, nose and chin when on-board our ambulance. The hospital or clinic may also provide a face mask before you leave for your ambulance journey home. Please do not remove it unless asked by our staff. Patients can also help by washing their hands for at least 20 second before leaving their home or hospital to get into an ambulance.

Currently, our transport services are prioritised for the following patients:

  • Patients who have been discharged and need to be transported from one care setting to another, or home, if there is no alternative means of transport.
  • Patients suspected of having COVID-19 who need to attend ongoing care appointments and have no access to private travel.
  • Patients with life-sustaining care needs who need to attend a care setting, such as for dialysis, and have no access to private travel.
  • Patients defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 who need to attend ongoing care appointments and have no access to private travel.
    • High risk patients include organ transplant recipients and people with specific cancers, severe respiratory conditions, rare diseases and those on immunosuppression therapies, and women who are pregnant and have significant congenital heart disease.
    • A detailed list is available on the website.


Patient Safety and Staff Wellbeing

To minimise the risk of infection, staff and volunteers supporting the transport of patients with confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19 are following NHS guidance on use of personal protective equipment and decontamination of vehicles. Non-essential persons are not able to travel with a patient. This includes family members and relatives of patients, unless they are also acting as carer. Parents or guardians must accompany children under 18.


Attending non-essential appointments

When NEAS receives a booking for patient transport, we only know the destination clinic and not the treatment the patient is receiving. This means when a patient contacts NEAS to book transport, if their clinic is not on the essential clinic list, we can only direct the patient back to the hospital. A list of essential treatments is listed on the website.

The hospital is the arbitrator of a patient’s need for transport as they will be aware of the patient’s treatment and condition. Any patient requesting transport not going to a listed essential clinic will be referred to the hospital for their consideration as to whether transport should be provided. In these circumstances, the hospital will contact us directly.

This arrangement has been working well. We have been able to accommodate all the additional transport requests made by hospitals up to now.

Resuming transport to non-essential appointments in the future

Social distancing guidelines do not allow us to carry more than one patient on board an ambulance. This has significantly reduced the capacity we have to carry patients and means we are not able to resume all our services now. We are working with all the hospitals and clinical commissioning groups in the North East region to plan how we can extend our services beyond the current list of prioritised patients. Please contact your clinic or hospital to discuss transport in the first instance.

GNCR focus group with Healthwatch

Join the Great North Care Record webinar

Last year we held 20 engagement events, along with other local Healthwatch across the North East and North Cumbria for Connected Health Cities and Teesside University, to discuss the Great North Care Record. (more details about that work here). Researchers at Newcastle University have analysed the feedback from the focus groups and produced a report. The findings from this report are informing the future development of the Great North Care Record. Those who attended the events and anyone interested in the findings and what the Great North Care Record team is doing next, are invited to take part in an online discussion.

Taking place on Wednesday 7 November this one hour webinar will be a chance to hear what people think about sharing their health information, what is being done to put this into practice and how you can get involved.


This event is now closed.

Great North Care Record website













Contact the Elderly logo

Sunday afternoon tea parties for older people

Contact the Elderly is a national charity that changes the lives of lonely and isolated older people. Many people aged 75 and over spend their days alone, isolated from family and friends and often too frail to leave the house without a bit of help.

The Contact the Elderly Sunday afternoon tea parties bring older people and volunteers together for an afternoon of stories, laughter and conversation. Teas are provided in the home of a volunteer host and all drivers have enhanced DBS checks/references and use their own car and petrol.

There is no charge to take part in Sunday afternoon tea parties and there are plenty of places available across Northumberland.

If you would like to join please contact Valerie Walker, North East Development Officer on: 0191 242 0186 or email:


NCV logo

Northern Cancer Voices

Northern Cancer Voices – Involving patients in shaping NHS cancer services.

Northern Cancer Voices is a NHS led project that is funded by Macmillan. This project involves patients, carers and professionals working together to improve cancer outcomes in the Northern Region. The purpose of this project is to develop a plan that will provide patients, carers and families with opportunities to share their experiences of cancer care and treatment. The plan will also identify ways in which people can work in partnership with health professionals to shape NHS cancer services in our region.

To help develop this plan, Northern Cancer Voices are currently speaking to people in our region to understand their views on how best to create these opportunities to get involved.

Your views and comments on this topic would be welcomed and you are invited to complete a short survey.

To learn more about the project, please read the first edition of the project bulletin here.

If you have any questions about the survey or would like to know more about current opportunities to get involved in a project related to ‘Living with Cancer and Beyond’ please contact Jo Mackintosh at or telephone 07730379671 /01138257313.

The survey will close on Monday 14th May 2018.

Paramedic and patient

North East Ambulance Service Quality Priorities Survey

Every year North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) produces a Quality Report, which includes selecting priorities to improve patient safety, clinical effectiveness and patient experience.

Read about progress over the last 12 months here

NEAS are asking residents in the county to complete a short online survey around priorities, which closes on Monday 19 March, and is open to all. All responses are anonymous.


Complete the survey

Great North Care Record

The Great North Care Record: public engagement events

We would like to invite you to attend an engagement event in Northumberland, where you can share your views and shape the future development of the Great North Care Record (GNCR) project. We are working with Connected Health Cities, Teesside University and other local Healthwatch in the North East to talk to people about sharing data between health services. Events are to be held at:

Berwick Community Trust, Tuesday 7 November 12.15pm – 2.45pm

Ashington Round House, Thursday 16 November 12.00pm – 2.30pm

At present, when you visit your GP any information about you is stored on the GP practice system and is not typically shared with other health or care organisations such as hospitals or the ambulance service.  If you are unwell there could be delays in vital information being received by other organisations and health professionals. The GNCR project is being development across the North East of England and will allow your patient data to be viewed more quickly and easily by those involved in your care, with your permission.

We would like to hear your views on how the GNCR should develop and particularly about deciding your personal preferences to control which information you share and who can access your data.


Key points about the GNCR:

  • Healthcare staff involved in your care will have the right information at the right time
  • You will have better conversations with your health and social care provider as they will have access to relevant information prior to your appointment
  • Sharing information between healthcare professionals will save time and minimize the number of occasions that you will have to repeat your information
  • The GNCR will provide joined up care across the region
  • In the event of an emergency, medical staff will be able to access your details instantly which will result in safer care and improved healthcare
  • The GNCR can support academic and clinical research into new treatments at a faster rate if data is more readily available to the regions universities
  • You will be in control of how your data is used in your healthcare


The GNCR has three principal aims, to:

  • Deliver an individual’s important healthcare information, at the point of care, from whichever relevant organisations are involved in their care, irrespective of organisational boundaries.
  • Provide better information for clinical audit, service redesign and commissioners of care, so that health care systems can be transformed and improved, and run more effectively.
  • Provide data for health and care research in a research environment trusted by the citizens of the North East and Cumbria


If you would like to attend one of the events please email or call us on: 03332 408468.

Lunch and refreshments will be provided.


Disabled Access Day logo

Disabled Access Day Museum Events

What is Disabled Access Day?

Disabled Access Day is all about trying something or somewhere new, whether that’s a local museum or gallery.  This year the event will take place on Saturday 16 March and we’d love you to get involved and visit somewhere new with your friends or family.  There are lots of exciting events, activities and offers going on across Tyne & Wear, from British Sign Language (BSL) tours to discounted entrance fees to facilitated activities.


What is Happening and Where?

The Discovery Museum, Blandford Square, Newcastle

A guided tour for visually impaired people, people with physical or learning disabilities, their friends and families.  The tour will take place between 12.00pm and 1.00pm and is called Newcastle Story, which depicts the city’s history from Roman times right through to the Victorian age.

A BSL interpreted tour will take place for people with hearing loss, their friends and families between 2.00pm and 3.00pm around the Destination Tyneside Exhibition which looks at the insightful stories of people who have made Tyneside their home.

Free places for these events can be booked by calling: 0191 277 2313 or via email: Places must be booked by Wednesday 13 March,

There is also a drop-in Circus themed craft session for families with children with disabilities from 11.00am to 1.00pm in the Play + Invent space.  This will include clown hats, balancing clowns, circus lights and squirting flowers. Just turn up, no booking required!


GNM:Hancock, Barras Bridge, Newcastle

A BSL interpreted guided tour of The Natural Northumbria Gallery will take place between 11.00am and 12.00pm where you can discover what makes the North East region special in terms of the animals and plants.

A guided tour for visually impaired people, people with physical or learning disabilities, their friends and families will take place between 1.00pm and 2.00pm around The Natural Northumbria Gallery where you can discover what makes the North East region special in terms of the animals and plants.

Free places for these events can be booked by calling: 0191 277 2313 or via email: Places must be booked by no later than Wednesday 13 March.

There will also be some drop-in sessions for family activities for children with disabilities.

The first session is ‘Story Time’ between 10:45am and 11.00am where you will meet the Great North Mouse and Georgina.

The second session is ‘Fishing for Clues’ between 11.00am and 12.00pm.  Using our magnetic fishing rods fish clues from our ‘pond’ to help you discover objects around the gallery.

The third session is ‘Scribbles & Sketches’ between 1.00pm and 3.00pm. This is a drawing challenge for all ages.  Pop along to Natural Northumbria Gallery to meet some of the handling collection, then have a go at drawing, tracing or colouring some of them.

two women chatting

Adapt (NE) AGM

Our umbrella organisation Adapt (NE) will be holding its Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 14 November. The event is open to anyone interested in the services provided by the social enterprise and hearing about its work over the last 12 months.

Please register in advance for numbers: 01434 600599.