Patient Transport Service Controller

The Job and What's Involved

Patient Transport Service (PTS) controllers organise transport to take patients to and from outpatient clinics, hospital admissions and other non-urgent appointments. They are part of the non-emergency ambulance service control team, and in some ambulance services they may have slightly different job titles.

As a PTS controller, your duties would include:

  • Dealing with requests for transport.
  • Taking patients' details and making sure these are recorded accurately.
  • Making decisions on the best use of vehicles and drivers.
  • Booking transport slots for the same day, the following day or up to eight weeks ahead.

When deciding on the most appropriate form of transport, you would find out the specific needs of the patient and the level of support required on their journey. You would take into account the patients ability to walk, whether or not they use a wheelchair and if they will need a stretcher.

You would usually work 37.5 hours a week, including weekends, bank holidays and shifts covering times when the non-emergency ambulance service is available (usually between 5am and midnight). Part-time hours may also be available.

You would work at a switchboard in an office.

PTS controllers can earn between around £13,600 to £16,800 a year. With experience this may rise to around £18,500.

Team leaders can earn up to around £34,000.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

You will find most jobs within the NHS, although you could also train and work in the armed forces.

Jobs can be advertised in the local and national press and through Jobcentre Plus offices.

Education and Training

Each ambulance service can set its own entry requirements. However, in general you will need keyboard and computer skills and a good standard of secondary education (possibly including GCSE's in English, maths and science). Some employers will also prefer you to have:

  • Map reading skills.
  • Knowledge of local geography.
  • A typing qualification.
  • Some understanding of medical terminology.
  • Experience of office filing systems/admin work and customer service.

The ability to speak a second language may also be helpful.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

You will receive in-house training from your employer, which may be classroom-based or on the job. Training can vary between ambulance services, but usually includes:

- Operating a switchboard
- Using radio communications and other equipment
- Keeping accurate records

Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

A patient transport service controller needs:

  • The ability to record and process information accurately.
  • A pleasant telephone manner.
  • Good listening skills and the ability to speak clearly.
  • Good IT skills.
  • Strong organisational skills.
  • The ability to prioritise.
  • The ability to work under pressure.
  • A professional attitude towards work.
  • The ability to work alone and in a team.

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Your Long Term Prospects

With experience, you could progress to emergency medical dispatcher or become a supervisor within the control room, leading a team of controllers or running a fleet of vehicles.

Another option would be to move into a training job.

Get Further Information

NHS Careers, PO Box 376,
Bristol BS99 3EY
Tel: 0345 60 60 655

Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS),
Ambulance Headquarters, Suite 30,
Knockbracken, Healthcare Park,
Saintfield Road, Belfast BT8 8SG
Tel: 028 9040 0999

London Ambulance Service,
Recruitment Centre, St. Andrews House,
Devons Road, Bow,
London E3 3PA
Tel: 020 7887 6638

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