What is the patient transport service (PTS)?
The non-emergency PTS is available for suitable patients referred for consultations, treatment or procedures provided within the hospital or community setting.
This would not normally include transport to services usually provided by your family doctor or dentist.
What do we mean by “suitable patients”?
A patient is deemed to be suitable for PTS transport if:
- their medical condition requires the skills or support of PTS staff throughout their journey
- the condition of the patient’s health might suffer if they were to travel by other means
- their medical condition affects their ability to access healthcare without PTS.
Best Use of PTS
It is important that PTS is only used by people who need either physical or emotional help to travel.
When PTS is used by too many people, ie those who could get to their appointment in another way, it is difficult for the service to operate efficiently. It means that patients could arrive late for their appointments and may have to wait for longer than necessary to be collected and taken home.
We need to ensure that people who have no other safe way to get totheir appointments arrive on time and without detriment to their health. To do this, we ask that all people who could travel by other means are encouraged and given the relevant information to do so.
This information aims to provide you with as many travel options as possible.
What can I expect to happen when I apply for PTS?
If you think that you are suitable for PTS, you should call 0300 330 2000 as soon as you receive your appointment and know you need transport.
When you call, the call handler will ask you a few questions to establish whether or not you are suitable for PTS transport. If you are suitable, the call handler will arrange this for you.
In certain cases someone may need to visit you to assess how to move you safely.
If you are considered suitable for PTS, your suitability will be reviewed each time you need transport. If your condition improves you may be informed that you are no longer suitable.
If you are not suitable for PTS, you will be advised of alternative support you could receive.
How do I cancel my journey?
If you need to cancel your transport, you can call 0330 333 9970 at any time of the day or night and leave a message. It is very important that you cancel any transport that you do not need to enable the service to operate as efficiently as possible and provide a quality service.
What if my transport does not arrive?
If you have a query relating to your journey on the day of your appointment, please ring the booking number, tel: 0300 330 2000, and follow the instructions.
Can I bring someone with me?
You may only bring someone with you on PTS transport in the following circumstances:
- If you are a child (under 16 years old).
- Where the person accompanying you has particular skills which you need; for example if you:
- need constant attention throughout your journey
- have severe communication difficulties
- have problems with your sight, hearing or speech
- have physical or mental health problems that prevent you from travelling alone
- would be at risk or vulnerable if you travelled alone
- need a translator
- need a chaperone for cultural or religious reasons.
- If you have a guide dog.
When you apply for PTS, you will need to let the call handler know that you require an escort at the same time.
What should I do if I’m not suitable for PTS?
If you are not suitable for PTS you can do one of the following:
- Travel via public transport.
- For all bus enquiries telephone: 01482 222222.
- For all train enquires telephone: 0845 6769905.
- Ask a friend or relative to take you.
- Take a taxi - many taxi companies are now able to transport a wheelchair.
- Enquire about local community transport in the colour or yellow pages.
- Contact your local council.
If you need help to pay for your travel, financial assistance may be available from the Healthcare Travel Cost Scheme.
Can I claim through the Healthcare Travel Cost Scheme?
You may be able to claim through the Healthcare Travel Cost Scheme if you’re referred for a consultation, treatment or procedure provided within the hospital or community setting. Again, this does not include transport to services normally provided by your family doctor or dentist.
You can claim travel costs if you or your partner receives:
- Income support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Pension Credit Guarantee Credit.
- You can also claim if you are named on, or entitled to a NHS tax credit exemption certificate.
You may also qualify if you’re on a low income and receive one of the
- Child Tax Credit.
- Working Tax Credit with the disability element or severe disability element.
In some hospitals you can claim your money back immediately when you show the following:
- Proof of a qualifying benefit (like an award notice).
- A tax credit exemption certificate (you’ll get this automatically if you qualify.)
- A certificate showing you qualify for the NHS low income support scheme.
- Evidence of the cost of your travel.
If you travel by car you will be reimbursed for the estimated cost of fuel used plus unavoidable car parking and toll charges.
If you intend to use a taxi for transport you should check with the hospital or primary care trust before you travel.
You can sometimes receive payments before you travel to your appointment. Again, please contact the hospital or primary care trust to discuss this.
If you want to find out more about the Healthcare Travel Cost Scheme, please contact the hospital or healthcare provider who is caring for you.
Is there anything else I need to know?
Many hospitals charge for car parking. Sometimes monthly passes are available to help
reduce the cost of parking if you have to attend the hospital frequently.
To find out more about transport options, parking, or making a claim through the Healthcare Travel Cost Scheme, please contact the hospital or healthcare provider who is caring for you. Sometimes there are unavoidable delays and patients are advised toeither bring a drink and a snack with them or to bring sufficient funds to purchase one, especially in the case of patients with diabetes.