Patients in need of kidney dialysis are waiting ‘unacceptable’ periods of time for transport to take them to hospital, a large-scale survey has found.
The poll of nearly 12,000 patients discovered that a large number waited half an hour or longer to be picked up by hospital transport, while others complained of long journey times.
All the patients surveyed were undergoing haemodialysis treatment, which mostly takes place in NHS hospitals and clinics.
The National Kidney Care Audit Patient Transport Survey, carried out by the NHS Information Centre, is the first study to look at the services in England, Wales and Northern Ireland used by the 19,000 patients on haemodialysis.
Patients typically need three or four hours of dialysis treatment, three times a week.
Overall, the poll found that just over six in 10 patients said the service met their needs.
In all parts of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, patients who travelled using their own or public transport had shorter journey times than those who used transport provided by the hospitals.
Dr Donal O’Donoghue, national clinical director for kidney care, said: ‘Patient transport services, acute trusts and other providers of dialysis, commissioners and kidney patient associations all have responsibilities and need to work together.’