Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS)
If you or your child is referred to hospital or other NHS premises for specialist NHS treatment or diagnostic tests by your doctor, dentist or another primary care health professional, you may be able to claim a refund of reasonable travel costs under the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS).
Who can claim for help with travel costs?
To qualify for help with travel costs under the HTCS, you must meet three conditions:
Qualifying benefits and allowances:
Patients who are not in receipt of a qualifying benefit, but are on a low income, and whose savings are less than £16,000 (or £23,500 if in a care home) may be eligible for assistance with their NHS travel expenses. Click here to find out more about the NHS Low Income Scheme
For information about claiming for other appointments (i.e. for yourself, for a carer or escort etc.), under the HTCS please visit: https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/help-with-health-costs/healthcare-travel-costs-scheme-htcs/
What form of transport can I use?
The NHS organisation handling your claim will normally base any refund on the basis of what would have been the cheapest suitable mode of transport for your circumstances. This can include your age, medical condition or any other relevant factors, such as the availability of public transport. This means you should use the cheapest, most appropriate means of transport, which in most cases will be public transport.
If you travelled by car and your claim was approved, you'll be reimbursed for the cost of fuel at the mileage rate used by your local clinical commissioning group (CCG). You'll also be able to claim for unavoidable car parking and toll charges. Patients in London may be able to claim congestion charges. Click here for more info on the congestion Charge NHS Reimbursement Scheme.
When using a taxi for transport, it's recommended that you agree this in advance with the hospital or CCG before you travel.
What cannot be claimed for?
You cannot claim help with travel costs if you're visiting someone in hospital.
You also cannot claim if you're visiting your local GP, dentist or another primary care service provider for routine check-ups or other services, such as vaccinations or cervical cancer screening, as these are excluded from the scheme.
Urgent primary care services during out-of-hours periods (between 6.30pm and 8pm on weekdays, weekends or bank holidays) are also excluded.
How It Works
You're expected to pay for your travel and claim back the costs within 3 months.
You should take your travel receipts, appointment letter or card, plus proof that you're receiving one of the qualifying benefits, to a nominated cashiers' office to claim your travel costs. Nominated cashiers' offices are located in the hospital or clinic that treated you. They're responsible for assessing your claim and making the payment directly to you.
In some hospitals, the name of the office you need to go to may be different (for example, the General Office or the Patient Affairs Office). If you're not sure, ask reception or Patient Advice and Liaison Services (PALS) staff where you should go.
Some hospitals and clinics do not have cashier facilities. In this case, you can complete the HC5 (T) claim form below and post it to the address stated on the form. You can make a postal claim up to 3 months after your appointment took place.
In some cases, you may be able to get an advanced payment to help you attend your appointment. The NHS service providing your treatment should be able to advise how to apply. If they cannot, contact your local CCG for advice.
Can I claim travel expenses for treatment abroad?
You're only entitled to have NHS foreign travel expenses paid for when the health service body that made the arrangements for services to be provided overseas agrees the mode and cost of travel, and the necessity or otherwise for a companion. You may claim for travel costs incurred travelling to a port (including an airport, ferry port or international railway station) in Great Britain from where your international journey begins. The cost of your travel from the port to the place of treatment falls within NHS foreign travel expenses and cannot be claimed through HTCS. NHS foreign travel expenses are travel expenses that a person incurs travelling abroad from a port in Great Britain to receive services arranged by the NHS. This all has to happen before the costs are incurred.
How can I speak to someone about this?
If you have questions about help with health costs, join the Help with Health Costs team on Facebook, where the NHS Business Services Authority will respond to your queries Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.
What can I do if I need help but I don't qualify for HTCS?
If you need help with travel cost, but you dont qualify for assistance through the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme, you are welcome to apply for a Care Grant from us. Click here to find out more.
This information is directly from the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/help-with-health-costs/healthcare-travel-costs-scheme-htcs/ (September 2019)