Aim: To discover areas of NSW Neonatal and Paediatric Transport Service's (NETS) work with which the parents, referring and receiving doctors are dissatisfied and respond to them.
Methods: An anonymous survey of referring doctors, parents of patients transported by NETS and receiving hospital doctors between July and December 2005.
Results: Referring doctors: Fifty-seven per cent of the 288 (30% response rate) doctors who responded were paediatricians and 43% worked in rural settings. Over 90% responded positively about communication with the NETS team at referral and retrieval. Useful feedback included the need to be more time efficient in phone communication and during stabilisation of the child and to improve feedback about management and patient outcomes. Parents: Forty-seven per cent of 152 responses (15% response rate) came from rural families. The majority (>98%) of parents felt that the NETS team were helpful and supportive of them. Parents reported being able to travel with their child 60% of the time and of those who could not, 95% could explain why. Receiving doctors: Ninety-three per cent of 218 responses (42% response rate) thought that the referral was appropriate, that the NETS teams carried out their advice correctly (98%) and that the child's needs were reported accurately by the team (90%). In a minority of retrievals important concerns were raised about ventilation, sedation, patient assessment and management.
Conclusion: Most retrievals happen in a way that referring consultants, parents and receiving consultants find appropriate. Important suggestions for improvement in service delivery and some areas of risk to patient safety have been identified. Processes for overcoming these situations are being developed and implemented.