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This policy sets out for staff across the Trust what is required to ensure a safe and effective transfer for any adult patient who requires transfer to another ward or department within or outside of Ashford and St Peters Hospitals. It includes an outline of the roles and responsibilities of trust staff, key principles fundamental to transfer, and the range of factors that need to be considered with patients and their carers before and during transfer.

The standards outlined in this policy should be adhered to by all trust staff regardless of the type of transfer or the time of day in which the transfer is taking place.



The aim of this policy is to ensure that there is a clear and consistent process in place for dealing with patient transfers at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals. This will ensure continuity of care for the patient with no detrimental effects attributable to the transfer. It will also ensure the patient receives optimal care during transfer while maintaining privacy and dignity at all times.

Furthermore it will ensure that the Trust meets all its legal responsibilities and conforms to the relevant NHSLA Risk Management standards.


Key Principles

Five key principles underpin this policy and should be adhered to by individual members of staff and multiagency teams during patient transfer:

  1. The potential benefits of transfer must be balanced against the risk: It must be established that the transfer is in the best interests of the patient and that the treatment or investigation is actually required. Patients should not be transferred for any non-clinical reason.
  2. The safety of the remaining patients must be taken into consideration: It is important to ensure that the safety of existing patients is maintained.
  3. Transfer must be timely: Wherever possible, patients should be transferred before 22:00 hrs. However due to changes in patient’s conditions and increased patient throughput, some transfers will have to take place outside of these hours.
  4. Effective communication (between staff, patient and carer) and accurate documentation regarding patient condition and their care needs is of paramount importance to patient safety.
  5. The type of staff support required during transfer will be proportionate to the “level of care” needs.


Policy Details

Download: PDF version
Compiled by: Den Hallett and Claire O’Brien
Ratified by: NMC
Date Ratified: December 2020
Date Issued: December 2020
Review Date: June 2021
Target Audience: All staff
Contact name: Den Hallett and Claire O’Brien


See also:

  • Transfer of Acutely ill patients from Ashford hospital to St Peters Hospital
  • Infection Control Manual