Patients travelling to NHS non-emergency healthcare are normally expected to make their own way, using their own transport or the range of public, community or voluntary transport available locally.

Some people may be eligible for NHS-funded patient transport on health grounds if they meet the criteria for support or assistance on or after their journey. Eligibility criteria are in place to ensure that anyone with a genuine need can access the services they require.

A person’s eligibility for NHS-funded patient transport services will be assessed against medical or financial eligibility criteria. This will ensure that everyone is treated fairly.

NHS Hampshire and Isle of Wight has identified that anyone who is a frequent traveller for a specific medical condition may also need access to a NHS-funded transport service if they need to attend hospital at least:

  • 3 times a week for a sustained course of treatment lasting a minimum of 6 weeks
  • 6 times a month for a sustained course of treatment lasting a minimum of 3 months

A person’s eligibility for NHS-funded patient transport services will be assessed against the following nationally and clinically defined eligibility criteria as a medical condition that:

  • requires the skills or support of patient transport staff, on or after the journey, to the extent that it would be detrimental to their condition or recovery if they were to travel by any other means
  • impacts on their mobility, to such an extent that they would be unable to access healthcare, and it would be detrimental to the patient’s condition or recovery to travel by any other means

You can’t use the NHS-funded patient transport service if:

  • you are usually able, for the purpose of daily living, to travel in a private car (for example a relative, friends or neighbour’s car) or on public transport (for example a bus, train, volunteer car service or taxi)
  • you are travelling for private treatment funded by yourself
  • the transport is for social need, for example because a patient does not have their own car
  • the transport is to primary care services, for example a GP or dentist
  • you require an urgent or 999 response
  • you are visiting someone in hospital

Your transport will be with you in plenty of time so that you arrive promptly. If you’re being discharged from hospital, you’ll be advised when transport will be available to take you home.

You should be aware that your pick-up time could well be in advance of your appointment time as the vehicle may be collecting other people. It’s also worth remembering that on the journey home after discharge from hospital, you may not be taken straight to your destination. We will make every effort to minimise journey times wherever possible.

You can travel with an escort if 1 of the following applies:

  1. Your medical condition is such that you require constant supervision for safety (the escort must be able to meet your medical need and it should be established whether a healthcare professional would not be the preferred option).
  2. You have mental health problems that prevent you travelling alone.
  3. You are younger than 16 years.
  4. You have significant communication difficulties, including learning difficulties, impaired sight or is hard of hearing (where a patient has communication difficulties the escort should be able to provide a positive benefit in ensuring the patient can understand anything being said to them by the ambulance crew; for example, through the use of sign language where the patient is hard of hearing).

If you think any of the criteria apply to you, then you may be eligible to be accompanied.

If you receive income-related benefits or if you have a low income, you may be able to get help with all or some of your travel costs under the healthcare travel costs scheme. You must meet 3 conditions:

  1. At the time of their appointment you or your partner (including civil partners) must be in receipt of 1 of the qualifying allowances or benefits.
  2. You must have a referral from a health care professional for a specialist planned appointment or to a hospital for further NHS-funded treatment or tests.
  3. Your appointment must be on a separate visit to when the referral was made. Call the national health costs advice line on 0845 850 1166 or 0300 330 1343 for information.

If you are not on the specified benefits but have a low income, you may still be eligible for a full or partial refund through the NHS low income scheme.

The hospital where you are receiving treatment can also advise you about making a travel costs claim (at most hospitals, this will be general office or cashier’s office) and they will be able to supply the correct forms.

No. The NHS scheme does not cover visitors.

Find out about the public and community transport options in your area on the Connect to Support website.

Hampshire patients accessing transport for the first time need to call 0300 123 9833 to create a master record and book your initial appointment. You can then use NEPTS Patient Zone to book subsequent journeys, manage your bookings and check your journey status.

Hampshire Health Care Professionals who require assistance can contact us via their dedicated line on 0300 100 0024 (opt 1).

Our dedicated Contact Centre is open from 06:30am until 23:00pm 7 days a week.

Find out more on the South Central Ambulance Service website.

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