Patient Transport Officer/Attendant jobs on the rise

HLT31120 - Certificate III non-emergency patient transport. Student training ambulance

Patient Transport Attendants (PTA’s) and/or Ambulance Transport Attendants (ATA’s), Patient Transport Officers (PTO’s) are playing a bigger role in relieving traditional ambulance paramaedic crews from moving non-critical patients to and from various locations.

Local government and health departments are seriously looking at creating better patient transport services for the community; at the same time, maintaining high levels of patient care and safety.

What is Non-Emergency Patient Transport?

Non-Emergency Patient Transport (NEPT) services are usually pre-arranged; with a low priority response time, in comparison to emergency and critically ill patient transport.

Private company patient transport

Over the next few years, strong growth is expected in the patient transport sector. With an ageing population and more and more people living in Australia, there is increasing pressure on ambulance services to provide the infrastructure and services to cope with rising demand.  This being the case, one solution is to allow private patient transport companies to take on the role of non-emergency patient transport services.

In Victoria, non-emergency patient transport, or NEPT as it is commonly referred to, has been handled by private companies for many years. Ambulance Victoria currently provides non-emergency patient transport services to around 230,000 patients – and growing.

There is also a move by the NSW government to open up its non-emergency patient transport needs to private contractors.

In Queensland there are smaller patient transport operators who are gradually expanding their services, although not in the numbers we see in the southern states. With healthcare spending on the increase and transportation demands hitting new highs, more jobs will be created.

Image result for NEPT patient

What is a Patient Transport Officer (PTO)?

A Patient Transport Officer is a trained and qualified person who possesses the qualification HLT31120 – Certificate III in Non-Emergency Patient Transport. They provide non-emergency transport and care of low risk patients who require transport for non-acute, chronic illness or suffer from a disability. A Patient Transport Attendant (PTA) however, has a broader skill-set than a PTO and may be required to administer far greater patient management skills. For this reason, the HLT41120 – Certificate IV in Health Care and/or the HLT51020 – Diploma of Emergency Health Care are recommended.

Working in the patient transport industry means no two days are the same and you could be called upon to;

  • Transport patients to hospital from their home
  • Transport patients to and from doctor’s surgeries and private hospitals
  • Perform inter-hospital transportation of patients
  • Transport patients between hospitals and diagnostic facilities
  • Move patients and residents to and from nursing homes
  • Transport non-urgent patient cases to and from hospital emergency departments
  • Transport patients who suffer from being over-weight or are unable to move unassisted

Image result for NEPT patient

Not all patient transport is restricted to on-road. Owing to their geographic locations, many rural towns rely on aircraft to transport patients to hospitals.

Aircraft can be rotary wing or fixed wing and can be also certified for bariatric* use. Quite often, private companies can coordinate escorts for domestic and international flights, commercial stretcher transfers and air travel companion services.  So you can see, there is literally no limit to the variety of work you can enjoy in the patient transport sector.

Here is a link to Ambulance Victoria to learn about the different types of patient transport.

Complex Patient Ambulance Vehicle (CPAV) – Victoria.

In Australia, rates of obesity are growing at an alarming rate; and ambulance services must adapt their transport systems to accommodate this rise in overweight patients. In Victoria for instance, Complex Patient Ambulance Vehicles, (CPAV) are required to transport bariatric patients. This is because normal patient transport vehicles, (usually a Mercedes Benz Sprinter) are deemed unsuitable.

*Bariatrics is the science of providing health care for those who suffer from extreme obesity. A patient’s weight and the distribution of this weight throughout the body, determines whether someone is a bariatric patient or not.

In a world of highly regulated Work Health and Safety compliance, there is a greater need for this type of specialised vehicle, and crews are well-trained to handle most situations.

Patient transport jobs

  • Non-emergency Patient Transport Officer (NEPT)
  • Ambulance Transport Attendant (ATA)
  • Private company patient transport officer(PTO)
  • Ambulance Attendant
  • Ambulance Community or Volunteer Ambulance Officer

HLT31120 – Certificate III in Non-Emergency Patient Transport

Finds out more about Non-Emergency Patient Transport (NEPT) Training here.

  • What courses you can do and essential qualifications you need
  • Career pathways in the health care sector -> from PTO to Paramedic
  • Where to find jobs online
  • Overviews of every ambulance service in Australia
  • Overview of NEPT services industry in Australia
  • Overview of NEPT in each State
  • Essential reading on national standards for the NEPT sector
  • White papers and reviews of what the future holds for on-emergency Patient Transport

What is your career journey?

To discover how you can become a fully qualified Ambulance Paramedic or Basic/Advanced Life Support Medic, complete a personalised paramedical career development plan.