Patients on low incomes or receiving benefits may be eligible to receive financial support for travel costs to or from hospital.
The latest Healthcare Travel cost scheme, HTCS, published by the Department of Health in May 2010, lays out the details of how and when financial support is provided to those on low incomes who need to travel to or from an NHS hospital site in order to receive treatment.
For travel costs to be eligible for reimbursement through HTCS they:
- Must be incurred getting to Hospital for a diagnostic test or for treatment following a referral by a doctor or dentist;
- Must not be for the same journey as the appointment where the referral was made;
- Must be for treatment paid for by the NHS, regardless of whether it carried out by an NHS care professional or an independent one; and
- Patients must be in receipt of a qualifying benefit or eligible for assistance through the NHS Low Income Scheme.
HTCS does not apply in the following cases:
- Transport of patients with a medical need for ambulance transport;
- Patients being transferred between treatment centres;
- Patients who discharge themselves from hospital at their own request;
- Self Referral Patients – patients who have not been referred by a doctor or dentist;
- Visitors to patients in hospital;
- Private patients; and
- Overnight stay costs.
Carers and Escorts
If the patient’s referring consultant, GP or another health care professional involved in the patient’s care, state that it is medically necessary for a carer or escort to travel with the patient, the travelling expenses of the escort may also be claimed as part of the patient’s travel expenses. This applies also for those escorting children under the age of 16.
You should use the cheapest most appropriate means of transport, which in most cases will be public transport. If you travel by car you will be reimbursed the estimated cost of fuel used (an average based on HMRC Fuel rates) plus unavoidable car parking and toll charges.Where you are using a taxi for transport you must check with the hospital or PCT before you travel to agree this and a letter from your GP/PCT will be required to support the claim.
Claims may be made on the day of treatment or on a future visit if within 3 months. Alternatively, complete an HC5 form and post this together with your travel receipts to the address given on the form up to 3 months after your appointment has taken place.
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Pension Credit
- NHS tax credit exemption certificate
- Low income and are named on certificate HC2 or HC3
- Hospital appointment card or letter
- Travel receipts
- A letter from the GP or dentist for all taxi and community transport reimbursements
HC5 forms are available from your local job centre, Department of Social Services, GP or dental surgeries, over the phone on the numbers or weblink below:
- 0845 601 8076 for queries about medical exemption certificates
- 0845 850 0030 for queries about PPCs
- 0845 609 9299 for queries about tax credit certificates
- 0845 610 1112 to order a paper copy of the HC12, HC11 or HC5 forms
- 0845 850 1166 for all other queries call
Please visit the NHS Choices website for further information.