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Patient Transport

Transport to and from hospital

It depends on:

  • whether you need to go to hospital in an emergency
  • your medical condition and circumstances if it’s not an emergency

In an emergency

In a medical emergency, call 999 and ask for an ambulance.  A medical emergency is when someone is in a critical condition or life-threatening situation.  You will not have to pay to be taken to hospital in an emergency.

In Gloucestershire the 999 service is provided by the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust.

Non-emergency hospital visits

If you’re going to hospital for non-emergency tests or treatment, you will normally be expected to make your own way there.

Try to get a friend or relative to take you to hospital and collect you after you’ve been discharged.

Non-emergency patient transport services

Some people are eligible for non-emergency patient transport services (PTS).  These services provide free transport to and from hospital for people who have a medical need for it.

The NHS determines that patients are eligible for free non-emergency transport when:

The medical condition of the patient is such that they require the skills or support of PTS staff during the journey and where it would be detrimental to the patient’s condition or recovery if they were to travel by other means: and/or

The patient’s medical condition impacts on their mobility to such an extent that they would be unable to access healthcare or it would be detrimental to the patient’s condition or recovery to travel by other means.

In Gloucestershire this transport is provided by E-zec Medical Transport Services Ltd. If you think you might be eligible to receive non-emergency patient transport, call The Patient Transport Advice Centre (PTAC) direct on 01278 726968.

You will be asked some questions about yourself or the person you are booking transport for and they will be able to tell you if you/they are eligible. PTAC’s assessment will be based on Department of Health Guidelines.

If you are eligible they will take some further details to make sure the right type of transport and support is provided and take your booking.

Community Transport

If you are ineligible for patient transport services and are unable to access other travel options, community transport may be able to help you but you will be charged for the journey.

Healthwatch Gloucestershire is not a transport provider, but may be able to signpost you to these alternative methods of transport.

Help with Travel Costs

If you are on a low income or benefits you might be able to reclaim your transport costs to and from the hospital or other NHS premises, through the Healthcare Travel Cost Scheme (HTCS).

There are conditions you must meet to be eligible for a refund under this scheme.  For more information see NHS Choices – Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS) or The Department of Health leaflet HC11.

To claim your transport costs you will need to complete form HC5(T) and send to the address on the form.  Once your entitlement has been confirmed the hospital (or the CCG) will arrange payment direct to you.  Cash payments are not normally made on the day of your appointment at any of the Gloucestershire hospital sites.  If you do not have sufficient funds to pay your travel costs upfront you should contact the hospital or the CCG as soon as possible after you have received your appointment letter to discuss if it will be possible to provide you with an advance payment.

The CCG has developed a fact sheet about the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme and explains how to make a claim.  If you would like a paper copy of the Help With Travel Costs Fact Sheet contact PALS on 0800 0151 548

Concessionary Bus Passes

The CCG is working with Gloucestershire County Council to improve transport options for everyone in Gloucestershire.  One of the things we are looking at is the use of concessionary bus passes.

If you are eligible to reclaim your bus fares under the HTCS we might be able to provide you with a concessionary bus pass so that you do not have to pay fares on the day. If you are interested in this option please contact the CCG.

Help to Get to Dialysis
In Gloucestershire anyone who needs to come for dialysis is entitled to NHS funded transport. Unlike all other patient groups we currently do not make an eligibility assessment for dialysis patients.
There are two ways in which we can help.

1. Dialysis Mileage Reimbursement Scheme

Gloucestershire CCG (GCCG) has taken account of national advice that patient who are able to use their own means to get to haemodialysis should be encouraged and empowered to do so and we have recently introduced a new scheme to enable patients, should they wish to, to claim mileage costs (or public transport costs) for their travel when they make their own way to the unit.
The scheme is open to all patients registered with a Gloucestershire GP who attend haemodialysis. It allows you to manage your own transport arrangements and have more choice and control over how that is delivered. There is set of Frequently Asked Questions which help to explain how the scheme will operate and how to claim.
If you wish to arrange your own transport and claim mileage then you will need to complete a Registration Form and return it to the Patient Transport Team at CCG before you make any claims. Click on the link to get a form or you can get one from your dialysis unit or the Patient Transport Team at the CCG. Claims can be made for journeys undertaken on or after 1st February 2019. Completed claim forms should be returned to the Patient Transport Team at the CCG.

2. NHS Funded Patient Transport

If you need NHS funded transport your dialysis unit will usually book this for you. If you would rather take responsibility for booking yourself then you should call the Patient Transport Advice Centre on 01278 726968.

This is a door to door service but you may need to be ready about an hour earlier than the pick-up time from your home and may need to wait for an hour or more after your dialysis session is complete before you are picked up. This is due to the complex scheduling of a large number of patient journeys and variable times and lengths of dialysis sessions. Most patients will travel with one or more other patients attending the same session.

The Gloucestershire transport provider is currently E-zec Medical Transport Services Ltd.

How you can help

If on any occasion you have transport booked but do not need it e.g. a family member is picking you up, it should be cancelled with as much notice as possible so that the transport provider does not make a wasted journey. If the vehicle comes to pick you up and you have already left (by other means) the NHS is still charged for this journey and the crew’s time could have been spent picking up another patient.

If you have any further questions about getting to your dialysis sessions then please contact the Patient Transport Team at the CCG address

Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) Contact Numbers

  • Gloucestershire Hospitals (for Gloucestershire Royal and Cheltenham General) – 0800 019 3282
  • Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust (for Community Hospitals) –  0300 421 8313
  • Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group – 0800 0151 548