If you visited hospital recently, how did you get there?
Most people drive, use public transport, or rely on the kindness of family and friends to get to their hospital appointments on time. But if you don’t have good access to transport it can mean missing out on health check-ups and routine screenings. It can be even harder if you need to attend regular appointments at a hospital for long-term conditions, such as chemotherapy treatment for cancer.
There are lots of reasons why you might not be able to get to hospital easily for a non-emergency appointment. For example, we often hear from people who are physically unable to travel, can’t afford transport, or live in a rural area.
What support is available?
If you need help getting to hospital, find out whether you’re eligible for NHS-funded support.
If you can’t travel because of your medical condition
Ask your GP or the person who referred you to hospital whether Patient Transport Services run in your area. These services provide free transport to and from hospital for:
- People whose condition means they need additional medical support during their journey
- People who find it difficult to walk
- Parents or carers of children who are being transported
Need help finding support in your area?
To see what help is available where you live, get in touch with your local Healthwatch who can point you in the right direction.
You could get a refund on your hospital transport costs
If you’re not eligible for Patient Transport Services, you could claim a refund for the cost of your travel or taking a child to hospital through the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme.
You may be able to benefit from the service if:
- You can’t afford the cost of travelling to hospital
- You can’t get a friend or relative to take you
Depending on your situation, and where you live, you can also find voluntary organisations which can help you get to hospital. For example, the Royal Voluntary Service put older people who struggle to get to hospital in touch with local volunteer drivers. Age UK also runs door-to-door transport services for older people.