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Non-emergency Patient Transport

Ambulance Victoria currently provides non-emergency patient transport to more than 230,000 patients annually through the use of contract Non-emergency Patient Transport (NEPT) providers and our in-house clinic car and stretcher services.

We provide non-emergency stretcher transport across the state 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.

Ambulance Victoria Non-Emergency Patient Transport (NEPT) provides transport for patients who require clinical monitoring or assistance but do not need a time-critical emergency ambulance.

NEPT transport patients who can wait a minimum of 90 minutes with most transfers occurring from the patient’s home to hospital or between hospitals.

We provide non-emergency patient transport to more than 230,000 patients annually through contracted non-emergency patient transport providers as well as our in-house clinic car and stretcher services.

The Non-Emergency Patient Transport Regulations 2016 came into effect in April 2016 to support the Non-Emergency Patient Transport Act 2003.

The Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) undertakes the call taking and dispatch of AV non-emergency stretcher resources. The selection of the resource types will be determined by our communications procedures and policies in accordance with NEPT regulations (patient acuity) from the information provided by the requester and available resources.

Non-Emergency Patient Transport Bookings

Non-emergency patient transports must be authorised and deemed clinically necessary by an appropriate health professional using the following Non-emergency patient transport booking form (see form for types of health professionals able to authorise transport). Please note: The party paying for the non-emergency patient transport (such as the receiving hospital) must also lodge authorisation.

Statewide contacts for Non-Emergency Patient Transport services booking requests:

Non-Emergency Transport Bookings

Phone

1300 366 313

Fax

1300 366 314

Clinic ‘Walker’ Transport Service Transport Bookings (Metropolitan Only) Phone

1300 360 929

Clinic ‘Walker’ Transport Service Transport Bookings (Metropolitan Only) Fax

1300 361 929

Stretcher Transport

Stretcher services are provided to low, medium and high-acuity patients who require treatment, monitoring, observation or supervision during transport. These services involve the provision of NEPT transport via road, including the provision of in-transit patient treatment in accordance with the NEPT regulations.

Typical examples of non-emergency patient (stretcher) transport include:

  • Admissions to hospital from home
  • Discharges from hospital to home
  • Inter-hospital transports
  • Transports between hospitals and diagnostic facilities
  • Transports to and from nursing homes
  • Transports to and from the Air Ambulance facility at Essendon Airport
  • Transport of non-urgent cases to and from emergency departments
  • Transports to and from domestic and international airports within the metropolitan area.

There are various reasons why a non-emergency patient (stretcher) transport may be unsuitable. For example:

  • Patients who require transport within 90 minutes
  • Patients whose weight exceeds 159kgs
  • Patients whose body dimensions and/or equipment exceeds standard stretchers (refer to Complex Patient Ambulance Vehicle)

Ambulance transport

Authorisation is limited to health professionals who can make an informed decision about whether there is a genuine clinical need for a patient to be transported by ambulance instead of any other way.

Health professionals who can usually authorise ambulance transport are:

  • a registered medical practitioner
  • a registered nurse
  • a paramedic working in the communications centre at Ambulance Victoria

The authorising health professional is expected to determine that:

  • the transport is clinically necessary
  • the patient will be haemodynamically stable for the duration of the transport
  • the patient will be behaviourally stable for the duration of the transport

NEPT contractors

Non-emergency contractors, authorised by the Department of Health, have provided non-emergency stretcher and complex patient services on behalf of Ambulance Victoria since 1993. A competitive tender process determines which group of contractors undertake this service with multiple companies currently providing non-emergency patient transport across the state. These providers operate under stringent clinical guidelines overseen by the AV Medical Standards Committee and in accordance with the NEPT Regulations.

Newborn Emergency Transport Service (NETS)

An all-hours service providing time-critical statewide and interstate transfer of infants to clinically appropriate services, as well as non-urgent and back-transfers to special care nursery, and transfers for infants requiring special investigations.

Complex Patient Ambulance Vehicle

Another service that AV provides through our Non-Emergency Services is the Complex Patient Ambulance Vehicle (CPAV). Typically the CPAV is used for:

  • Transports requiring specialised equipment, including in-transit patient treatment to low, medium and high acuity NEPT complex and bariatric patients
  • Deployment of specialised equipment to provide assistance to AV emergency crews in lifting/extracting and/or transport of bariatric and complex emergency patients

Bariatric refers to individuals whose weight exceeds than 159kg or have unusual body proportions (such as a large girth) and therefore cannot be accommodated in a standard ambulance stretcher vehicle or clinic hoist bus.

Specialised equipment carried on the CPAV to aid in lifting and moving bariatric patients include:

Clinic Transport Services

Ambulance Victoria’s Clinic Transport Services (CTS) provide numerous methods of transport for non-urgent patients. The overwhelming majority of clinic transports are performed by CTS, however at times contracted resources for clinic transport may also be used.

Clinic Transport Services use a combination of station wagons, small hoist vehicles and minibuses fitted with wheelchair hoists. These vehicles are crewed by single officers who have the necessary patient care skills and training.

Ambulant (walker) patients must fill the following criteria:

  • able to walk at least two steps
  • can walk unassisted or with the help of a frame or stick
  • can travel comfortably in a seated position
  • can climb two steps into a minibus, or comfortably enter and exit a station wagon with minimal assistance.

Wheelchair patients requiring transport can be accommodated in our hoist vehicles. The patient is lifted by hoist into the vehicle and may take his or her own wheelchair. All CTS vehicles are equipped with wheelchairs for use in assisting patients transfer to/from their residence.

Patients unsuitable for transport by CTS include:

  • Patients requiring intervening treatment monitoring, IV therapy, oxygen or clinical observations while in transit
  • Patients requiring transportation for mental health treatment
  • Patients who are unable to travel with other passengers (e.g. infection control)
  • Transports directly to emergency departments.

Clinic Transport Services operate from 6.30am to 4.00pm Monday to Friday and provide transport to:

  • Outpatients appointments (when approved by the hospital network)
  • X-ray appointments
  • Specialist doctor’s appointments and procedures
  • Renal dialysis
  • Admissions and discharges
  • Inter-hospital transfers
  • Radiotherapy.

In general, and by prior arrangement, one passenger escort may travel with the patient to an appointment however return transport for the passenger cannot always be guaranteed due to resource demands.

For information on ambulance transport payment guidelines please visit the Victorian Department of Health web site

Ambulance transport can only be used for patients who have an authorised clinical need to be transported in this way. In other words, it must be clinically necessary for the patient to travel by ambulance. For transport to be clinically necessary, the patient must require active clinical monitoring/care or clinical supervision during transport that is provided by a paramedic, health professional or qualified patient transport officer or attendant.

Authorisation is limited to health professionals who can make an informed decision about whether there is a genuine clinical need for a patient to be transported by ambulance instead of any other way.
Health professionals who can usually authorise ambulance transport are:
• a registered medical practitioner
• an Ambulance Victoria paramedic or authorised employee of the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority
• a registered Division 1 nurse (can generally only authorise low-acuity transport under the Non-Emergency Patient Transport regulations). Before authorising a patient for any ambulance transport interstate, the referring health professional must contact Ambulance Victoria and provide detailed evidence why the patient must attend interstate health services. Ambulance Victoria may seek a second opinion.

Generally not as resources are prioritised for air ambulance patients, renal patients and emergencies. We suggest changing the appointment to a later time, as most medical facilities understand the demand for ambulance transfers in the morning is very high. We require at least an hour transfer time for all bookings, so the earliest a booking can be made is for a 7am pick up for an 8am appointment. Travel time may be extended depending on distance involved.

If the appointment can’t be changed and transport must be arranged for an early morning pick up, we can’t guarantee the transport will be there at the requested time and the patient may be late or miss their appointment/surgery.

A very small carry bag (e.g. a cabin bag of 5kg) will be allowed, provided it can be restrained in the vehicle. Any other luggage, walking frames or large items will need to be transported by other means.

We can accommodate the request of a medical officer or registered nurse to escort the patient in accordance with safe work practices. We try our best to accommodate requests for a family member to to escort the patient but medical staff required during transport take priority.

At times, your booking may be rejected for reasons such as:

  • Early Morning (7.00am) Request
  • Quote for Transport
    Under Department of Health and Human Services Guidelines, if the transport is not for a medical reason or is being requested for social reasons, the patient will be charged for the transport. The person responsible for payment of the transport must complete the billing form before the booking request can be completed. This will be provided to you by the Non-Emergency Services department upon request and following receipt of the booking form with all fields completed via fax to (03) 9011 7755.
  • Nursing Home to Nursing Home
    All requests for transport between nursing homes need to be assessed individually and authorised by the AV Non-Emergency Services department. A quote for transport may also be required for this transport.
  • Airport Transfer
    All booking requests for airport transfers need to be assessed individually and authorised by the AV Non-Emergency Services department. A quote for transport may also be required for this transport.
  • Medical Diagnosis
    If there is a lack of details regarding the current medical condition(s) of the patient. An appropriate medical professional needs to complete the booking form in its entirety, including the patient’s current medical condition.