Transport and travel allowances
For some, travel to hospital can present difficulties – for example, because of the cost, the length or complexity of the journey, or lack of access to private or public transport.
Help with travel may be available whether it is in the form of travel cost re-imbursements which are primarily income based or in the form of transport provisions for those that have a severe medical or mobility issue.
For further information go to one of the bookmarks below:
- Travel allowances (income based eligibility)
- Transport provisions (medical/mobility based eligibility)
Financial help may be available under the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS), to those patients who do not have a medical need for ambulance transport and who cannot meet the cost of travel to hospital.
Patients on the following benefits may be entitled to reimbursement of some or all of their hospital travel costs:
- Income Support
- Income Based Job Seekers Allowance
- Income Related Employment and Support Allowance
- Tax Credits – If you receive Working Tax Credit (WTC) or Child Tax Credit (CTC) you are entitled to a refund provided you meet the following conditions: your income is £15,050 per annum or less (This is the amount shown on the Tax Credit award and you get WTC or CTC) or, you get WTC with a disability element shown on the award or, you get CTC and are not eligible for WTC. You should be sent an NHS Tax Credit Exemption Certificate showing that you are entitled to help with health costs.
- Pension Credits: Pension Credit consists of two elements – Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit. Guarantee Credit (paid on its own or with Savings Credit).
Patients who are dependants in a family that receive Income Support, Income Based Job Seekers Allowance, WTC or CTC are also entitled to reimbursement of Travel Expenses and should be able to present the evidence of entitlement outlined above.
The level of reimbursement is calculated as follows:
- When travelling by car, the amount is calculated using the internet website ‘AA Route Planner’ to work out the distance for a round-trip between your home address and The Queen Elizabeth Hospital. 15p per mile is paid when using a car or 27p per mile is paid if a receipt is shown for community transport. Car parking charges are paid in full if included with the form.
- Bus receipts are paid in full if included with the form. Both the patient and any accompanying child are paid for in full. Escort receipts (adult escorting an adult) are paid in full when an accompanying letter from the GP / Hospital Consultant is presented advising the patient must travel with an escort (these usually last for up to one year and are kept on record within the PALS office for future reference).
- Taxi fares are paid in full when an accompanying letter from the GP / Hospital Consultant is presented advising you cannot travel by any other means (these usually last for up to one year and are kept on record within the PALS office for future reference).
I am entitled, what can I claim for?
Entitled ‘in-patients’ may claim for the journey to hospital and for the homeward journey on discharge. Claims cannot be made for visits home during ‘in-patient’ stays.
Entitled ‘outpatients’ can claim for their journey to and from the hospital for each outpatient appointment. Patients are only entitled for reimbursement for the journey from their usual place of residence to the hospital and back.
Other routes of eligibility for healthcare travel costs
If you are not in receipt of any of the benefits listed above but are on a low income, you may be eligible for assistance through the NHS Low Income Scheme. You may be eligible for full or partial payment of your NHS travel expenses in certain circumstances, which are detailed in the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme.
Patients who may be entitled to help on low-income grounds should read leaflet HC11 and make a Low Income Scheme claim using Form HC1 (HC1(SC) if in a Care Home) and a refund claim using Form HC5(T).
The above mentioned HC forms are available to download
War disablement pensioners
There are special arrangements that apply to War Disablement Pensioners attending hospital for medical treatment for their pensionable disability. These arrangements include payment of travelling expenses, subsistence and loss of earning allowances. If this is you be advised to contact the Veterans Agency, Norcross, Blackpool FY5 3TA, stating that you are a war pensioner and give your full name and address and, if possible, your war pension number.
You can claim help with travel costs up to 3 months after the date of travel.
How to claim
You can visit our PALS office or call 01553 613351 to find out more. Please note, our PALS office will not be able to issue immediate re-imbursements.
If you require hospital transport and are registered with a Norfolk or Suffolk based GP the NHS can provide free, non-emergency transport to certain patients who are eligible, i.e. there must be a medical need and/or severe mobility issues.
If this is you and you need to request transport call the Patient Transport Clinical Assessment and Advice Centre on 0345 8500774. Lines are open Monday to Friday between 8am and 6.30pm and on Saturdays from 8am until midday.
You should provide your NHS number, details of your GP surgery and hospital clinic and appointment details.
This is an NHS Norfolk and NHS Suffolk initiative.
Other concessions and benefits
If you are in receipt of a low income or have a disability you may be entitled to more help, visit www.gov.uk to find out more.