Our non-emergency patient transport services (NEPTS) are operated in partnership with DHL.
Access to patient transport is based on medical need and we follow the Department of Health and Social Care's (DHSC) eligibility guidance.
Patients or their representatives who are seeking transport can make a booking via our call centre on 0333 240 4909 — it is open Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm.
The call centre uses assessment questions for each booking to determine a patient's right to access NHS-funded transport. This is usually a short, confidential telephone interview to assess your transport needs.
The DHSC eligibility criteria restrict transport to patients whose clinical condition means travelling by any other means would be detrimental to their recovery or existing condition, such as, but not limited to:
- patients who need to be transported on a stretcher
- some patients who use a wheelchair
- some patients receiving oxygen
- patients who require paramedic services
- patients who need the support of patient transport staff during the journey
How is hospital transport booked?
You should contact the transport assessment team on 0333 240 4909 to find out if you can apply for this service.
If you need help to request hospital transport, a friend, relative or carer can call on your behalf.
Your eligibility for hospital transport will need to be reassessed each time.
Wherever possible, patients are required to make their own way to and from hospital appointments.
If your medical condition affects your ability to travel independently (including with the help of friends, relatives, or carers), our transport service can assess whether you meet the DHSC’s criteria for eligibility to use this service.
You can book your transport up to four weeks in advance and until two working days before your hospital appointment.
Your booking may not be accepted if you do not contact us at least two working days before your appointment.
Late requests for patient transport will be prioritised for patients who have been asked to attend a hospital appointment with less than two working days’ notice.
If you are considered not eligible as result of your assessment, you have the right to appeal the decision. This will be handled directly by the assessment centre. The decision will then be reviewed by the nurse team.
If you are not happy with this decision and you disagree with your assessment outcome, you are entitled to make a complaint with our complaints department.
We use DHSC guidelines set out below to decide whether an escort is appropriate. We will do this as part of the assessment process.
Patients can travel with their relatives, friends and/or escorts/carers when:
- they are under 16 years of age and are required to travel with an escort or carer
- they need an escort or carer’s particular skills and/or support
- they cannot be left alone, or their condition means they need the support of someone who knows them well
- they are under the care of the patient who is eligible for NEPTS, cannot be left alone, do not require the support of the NEPTS ambulance care assistant when travelling, and no alternative care is available at that time
Contact your clinic in the first instance. If it is not an emergency, they will rearrange your booking.
Patient transport is provided based on medical need only and not whether the patient can afford the cost of their journeys to and from appointments.
Some patients on a low income may be eligible for reimbursement of travel costs through the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme.
This funding can also be issued in advance, either per journey or in a block sum, depending on the frequency of travel.
Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme
People who are eligible for the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme may be entitled to reimbursement for hospital travel.
This includes patients who are in receipt of a qualifying benefit, those who qualify for the NHS Low-Income Scheme or any other specified criteria.
Disability Living Allowance
Patients may be entitled to wider transport support from other public bodies. This includes the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) mobility component, or a local equivalent.
In these instances, patients are unlikely to be entitled to funding from the HTCS.
NEPTS would only be available if transport options usually funded by the patient’s DLA are not appropriate.
Support from social care or local transport schemes may also be available and should be considered.
Where a patient’s treatment or discharge may be missed or severely delayed, but they are not eligible for NEPTS under the criteria outlined above, we encourage you to consider other forms of private or public transport if they are available and suitable.