Patient transport services are responsible for transporting people to and from hospital appointments. NHS trusts contract transport providers who organise and provide transport for their patients. Examples of people who are eligible for patient transport are:
- People whose condition means they need additional medical support during their journey
- People who find it difficult to walk
- Parents or guardians of children who are being transported
Each NHS Trust has its own procedure for arranging transport. Many trusts require either a GP or hospital doctor to authorise the booking of transport. The best advice is to mention to your GP at the time of your referral that you might need transport to and from the hospital. If you are already a hospital patient then check with your hospital doctor how you go about arranging transport.
To find out which NHS Trust is responsible for providing Patient Transport in your area, please use the Hospital Location Search here: https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/other-services/Hospital/LocationSearch/7
Many Patient Transport services will ask you a series of questions over the phone to assess your eligibility for the service. These questions can include if you can use public transport, if you have a Blue Badge, or whether you have a Motability vehicle or a family member with a car. Please consider your responses to these questions carefully as they will determine whether you will be allocated Patient Transport.
The Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme
If you need help with the cost of transport to an appointment, you may be eligible to claim a refund under the ‘Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme’ (HTCS). The HTCS provides financial support for travel costs to NHS premises for NHS-funded treatment or diagnostic test arranged by a doctor or dentist.
To qualify for help with travel costs under the HTCS, you must meet 3 conditions:
- At the time of your appointment, you or your partner (including civil partners) must receive one of the qualifying benefits or allowances listed on this page, or meet the eligibility criteria for the NHS Low Income Scheme.
- You must have a referral from a healthcare professional to a specialist or a hospital for further NHS treatment or tests (often referred to as secondary care).
- Your appointment must be on a separate visit to when the referral was made. This applies whether your treatment is provided at a different location (hospital or clinic) or on the same premises as where the GP or another health professional issued the referral.
You can claim travel costs for your children if 2 or 3 above applies to them and you are in group 1 above at the time of the appointment.
You can claim help with travel costs if you or your partner (including civil partner) receive any of the following benefits:
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Working Tax Credit (WTC) with Child Tax Credit (CTC)
- WTC with a disability element or a severe disability element
- CTC but you’re not eligible for WTC
- Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
- you receive Universal Credit and meet the criteria
You can also claim for help with travel costs if:
- you’re named on, or entitled to, an NHS tax credit exemption certificate (if you do not have a certificate, you can show your award notice) – you qualify if you get child tax credits, working tax credits with a disability element (or both), and have income for tax credit purposes of £15,276 or less
- you have a low income and are named on certificate HC2 (full help) or HC3 (limited help) – to apply for this certificate, you should complete the HC1 form: claim for help with health costs (PDF, 218kb), which is available from your local hospital, Jobcentre Plus offices or the NHS print contract order line on 0300 123 0849
- Patients who are not in receipt of a qualifying benefit, but are on a low income, and whose savings are £16,000 or less (or £23,250 or less if in a care home, or £24,000 or less if residents in Wales) may be eligible for assistance with their NHS travel expenses.
Application and further info
To find out what method of Transport you can use, where to apply, how to claim a refund and where to find support please visit the dedicated NHS Page: https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/help-with-health-costs/healthcare-travel-costs-scheme-htcs/
Last updated: March 2021