PERFORMANCE: Nearly 40 per cent of patients have missed a hospital appointment in London because of failings by patient transport services, a report by a disability campaign group has claimed.

Transport for All found that 37 per cent of the 200 patients surveyed had missed an appointment and nearly 50 per cent had been late to an appointment.

The survey also revealed that 57 per cent of patients were not aware they could book patient transport when they arranged their appointment.

Non-emergency patient transport is a free service provided by the NHS to transport patients with limited mobility to and from hospital appointments.

The service in most hospitals is contracted out to private companies.

The charity is calling for trusts to sign up to a Patient Transport Charter, including agreeing minimum standards in patient transport contracts with financial penalties for failing to transport patients on time.

The Charter has the support of the Independent Ambulance Association, Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital and the London Procurement Partnership which procures patient transport for 52 NHS Trusts and 33 CCGs.

Lianna Etkind, campaigns coordinator at Transport for All, said: “Getting patients to their appointments on time is the very basic standard required of patient transport, but patients are being let down even on this. Some hospitals are offering an excellent service. However, in most hospitals, patients and doctors are plagued by unreliable transport which delivers patients late; frequently makes them wait for hours after their appointment and often deems very frail patients as ineligible for hospital transport.”