Northern Ireland Ambulance Service provides non-emergency patient transport services across the province. This enables patients, usually vulnerable and dependent upon us, to get to routine appointments at hospitals and treatment centres throughout Northern Ireland.
The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service provides transport for patients:
- Attending outpatient appointments at hospital
- Requiring investigation or treatment at hospital
- Being admitted to hospital
- Being transferred between hospitals
- Being discharged from hospital.
This service is not available to everyone attending appointments; there must be a medical need for transport. This reason could be that you are immobile and unable to utilise public transport, or as a result of your treatment. This medical necessity will need to be confirmed by a physician stating that your condition is so severe that you are unfit to travel by other means.
If you think you may require ambulance transport to take you to hospital, please contact your Doctor once you have received your appointment. Your Doctor will then assess your medical need and decide if you require ambulance transport.
No bookings will be taken directly from patients by NIAS. Requests must always come from a Doctor confirming that you have a medical need for transport. Your GP will book your first appointment and any others booked within 3 months will be booked by the hospital Consultant you are attending for treatment.
NIAS needs as much information as possible when a request is made; therefore it is important that you give your Doctor all of the information you can. This information is important to ensure that the correct vehicle type is allocated and that ambulance staff are made aware of any medical conditions (e.g. diabetes). This ensures that you receive the highest level and standard of care from us.
When to Request Transport
All requests for non-emergency transport must be made with NIAS at least 48 hours in advance of the appointment. You must, therefore, contact your Doctor before that, and preferably as early as possible. Late requests cannot always be accommodated by NIAS as space is filled quickly and future planning is of utmost importance.
NIAS have structured times that we can take patients to hospital. These times are normally:
10:00 – 12:00 hrs
13:30 – 14:30 hrs
Hospitals are all aware of these times and will assist you if necessary. If you need a follow-up appointment you should request transport at the same time. Doing this ensures that the appointment is at an appropriate time for the Ambulance Service. Please give all of the relevant information to hospital staff as your Doctor does not provide the information needed by NIAS to the hospital.