Non-emergency patient transport is an important service for those who cannot attend hospital, outpatient appointments, community clinics or get home after a hospital admission by any other means. NHS-funded transport does not cover journeys to GPs, dentists, pharmacies and opticians.
How do I know if I am eligible for non-emergency patient transport?
Patients who would like help with transport to healthcare appointments will need to have an assessment which will determine your medical needs and what support you will need on the journey.
The assessment may be done face to face with the doctor or nurse who is responsible for your care, or it could be done over the phone with the transport assessment and booking team.
Details of the Eligibility Criteria for Non-Emergency Patient Transport Service (NEPTS) can be viewed in the following expander:
This paper outlines the arrangements for Non-Emergency Patient Transport Services (NEPTS) in accordance with the NHS England guidance published in May 2022 which builds on the Department of Health Guidance ‘Eligibility Criteria for Patient Transport Services issued in August 2007.
The underlying principle is that it is the patient’s responsibility to make their own way to and from hospital for patient episodes of care of all types, including outpatients’ appointments, elective admissions and discharges from hospital. Most people should travel to and from hospital independently by private or public transport, with the help of relatives or friends if necessary. NHS funded patient transportation is reserves for when it is considered essential to ensuring an individual’s safety, safe mobilisation, condition management or recovery.
Patient/health care professionals must explore all other options for transportation before accessing NEPTS. This includes services offered by the red cross and local voluntary transport providers and volunteers.
This document sets out the criteria for assessing eligibility for the service and will be used to determine whether NHS patients registered to a GP practice or not registered but an ordinarily resident within mid and south Essex are entitled to NEPTS.
Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) are not required to provide transport based on a patient’s financial or social need. Financial help is available to patients on low incomes who do not have a medical need and thus do not qualify for NHS funded transport. Please refer to section 7 for more information regarding the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme.
- What is Non-Emergency Patient Transport (NEPTS)
The Department of Health defines Non-Emergency Patient Transport Services (NEPTS) as the non-urgent, planned transportation of patients with a medical need for transport, to and from a premises providing NHS healthcare and between NHS healthcare providers.
NEPTS covers journeys between the patients place of residence and healthcare facilities, and between hospitals, for non-primary care services. The patient may have been referred by a doctor, dentist or ophthalmic practitioner for non-primary care NHS-funded healthcare services – that is, diagnostics or treatment or is being discharged following NHS-funded treatment. This policy only applied to transport for patients receiving NHS treatment who are registered with a GP or an ordinarily resident in Mid and South Essex. Place or residence is defined as any address specified at the time of booking e.g., patients home, nursing home, hospice or treatment centre.
Patient will be assessed against agreed criteria to determine eligibility to access NEPTS. This can take place over the phone, with the patient/carer contacting the transport provider’s call centre or this may be carried out by a health professional who is booking transport on behalf of the patient.
Booking staff can be either clinical or an appropriately trained administrative staff member, who is able to convey details of the patients medical condition.
- Who is eligible?
Patients are eligible for NEPTS where their medical condition requires the skills or support of NEPTS staff during their journey and/or it would be detrimental to the patient’s condition or recovery to travel by other means.
Patient eligibility should be assessed regularly, as the patient’s condition may have improved/deteriorated since the last request.
Patients who meet the following criteria will be eligible for transport:
– Patients who are assessed as requiring transportation on a stretcher
– Inpatients requiring a transfer to another hospital for ongoing treatment/assessment and will require the assistance of NEPTS staff during the journey
– Patients who require continuous oxygen or other medical gases and are unable to self-administer during transit
– Patients who require continuous intravenous support
– Patients requiring specialised equipment during the journey
– Patients requiring monitoring during the journey
– Patients who have undergone major surgery and there is a risk of possible side effects which are likely to require assistance or monitoring during their journey
– Patients who have a medical condition or disability that could compromise their dignity or cause public concern on public transport
– Patients who have a communicable disease with which travel on public transport or in a taxi is not possible
– Patients who have been clinically determined as at risk from using public transport due to being immunocompromised and which travel on private transport or in a taxi is not possible
– Patients who have a cognitive or sensory impairment requiring the oversight of NEPTS staff during their journey
– Patients who have dementia or another mental health condition that means they are unable to make their own way with relatives/friends and/or escorts/carers whether by private transport, public transport or a taxi (patients requiring secure transport is managed separately from NEPTS). The patient requires guidance or supervision most of the time from another person when walking out of doors in unfamiliar places
– Patients who have a confides state of mind, learning/communication difficulties, hearing loss and/or impaired sight of a severity that they are unable to make their own way with relatives/friends and/or escorts/carers whether by private transport, public transport or a taxi. The patient requires guidance or supervision most of the time from another person when walking out of doors in unfamiliar places
– Patients who have significant reduced mobility and are unable to make their own way with relatives/friends and/or escorts/carers whether by private transport (including a specially adapted vehicle if appropriate for the journey), public transport or a taxi.
This is likely to include patients who: need specialist bariatric provision, are unable to self-mobilise (require assistance to stand, find it difficult to walk a few steps with a walking aid and are a risk of falls), or are wheelchair users and need assistance to transfer to/from their wheelchair.
– Patients travelling to/from haemodialysis treatment
– Patients where a safeguarding concern has been raised by a relevant professional involved in a patient’s life, in relation to the patient travelling independently
The following are NOT in themselves reasons for the provision of a non-emergency transport:
– The age of the patient
– The distance the patient needs to travel
– The availability of alternative (public) transport options
– The cost of travelling to an appointment
Patients who have been assessed and allocated the use of a Motability vehicle or are in receipt of the enhanced rate mobility component of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) are not entitled to NEPTS NHS funded transport unless there is an additional medical need that prevents them from using their own vehicle or allocated funding. In such cases the patient will need to be assessed and meet the eligibility criteria for NEPTS.
Escorts/carers will be eligible to travel with patients who are approved for transport only where the patient has a medical need for their assistance during the journey.
Approval is not guaranteed and will depend on seat capacity on the vehicle on the day of transport.
A maximum of one fully mobile escort will be allowed per patient. Where an escort is accompanying the patient, and the return journey is not required by the patient, i.e. the patient is admitted overnight, then the escort must make their own arrangements to return home.
Escorts will only be approved in the following circumstances:
– Patient has communication or sensory difficulties and would require assistance whilst travelling on the vehicle which cannot be fulfilled by the NEPTS staff
– Patient is a minor, with a physical or mental incapacity and is under 16 years of age.
– Clinical escorts who are medically required to accompany the patient.
– The escort is under the care of the patient who is eligible for NEPTS. The escort cannot be left along and no alternative care is available at that time. All support agencies have been contacted and unable to assist.
Consideration will be given to the age of minors and the number of escorts in exceptional circumstances and approved where medical need determines this as appropriate. This may require approval by the ICB.
For all other circumstances, carers, friends or relatives are to make their own way to the hospital/clinic and meet the patient there.
- Patients who do not meet the eligibility criteria
Patients who do not meet the eligibility criteria will be advised to make alternative arrangements to attend their appointment. These can include:
– Public transport (e.g., bus, coach or train)
– Community transport or volunteer services.
A full data base of alternative travel arrangements will be maintained by the NEPTS provider.
- Location of appointment
People referred by a healthcare professional for non-primary care NHS-funded healthcare services, and who are deemed eligible under the criteria above, will be offered access to NEPTS regardless of the geographical location of treatment. This may include transport to non-hospital settings such as community facilities and community diagnostic hubs.
NEPTS do not provide transport to primary care services including GP services, dentists, pharmacy and optician appointments. In some cases healthcare treatment can be delivered in primary care settings by the service is provided by a community or secondary care provider.
- Wider support
Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS)
When receiving enquiries, NEPTS eligibility assessors and/or services provided by transport co-ordination hubs will consider providing people with information about the HTCS. People who are eligible for the HTCS include those who are in receipt of a qualifying benefit and those who quality for the Low-Income Scheme or under other specified criteria.
Further information of the HTCS can be found on the ICB website: Patient transport
What if I am not eligible for patient transport?
If you are not eligible for NHS-funded patient transport details of community transport can be found on the Essex highways website.
Need help with travel costs?
If you are not eligible for NHS-funded patient transport and need help to pay for the costs of transport to your healthcare appointments, you may be able to claim a refund through the national Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme. We apply the rates in line with HM Revenue and Customs advisory fuel rates.
More information can be found on our Health Travel Costs Scheme page.
Mid and South Essex Patients
Non-emergency patient transport service for Mid and South Essex is provided by HTG UK, formerly Thames Ambulance Service Limited.
Transport with HTG UK will usually be booked by your healthcare professional. However, patients can contact HTG UK by calling 0808 169 9614.
Further information can be found on the HTG UK via their website.
Feedback and queries
If you would like to raise any compliments, concerns or complaints about patient transport then you can contact HTG UK by phone, email or post using the details below.
Telephone – 0808 164 4696
Email- [email protected]
Travelling to a hospital outside of Mid and South Essex?
In some cases, Patient transport services for out of area hospitals are arranged directly through the hospitals themselves. Details of these hospitals and contact details are shown in the table below.
Therefore, patients or their advocates need to contact the hospital patient transport service directly to arrange appointments. Please note some of these hospitals require the referral to be made by the patient’s GP.
Patients will be assessed for eligibility in accordance with the hospital’s own eligibility criteria.
|Excluded London Trusts from the Scope of this Contract
|Barking, Havering & Redbridge University Hospital NHS Trust (includes Queens Hospital and King George’s Hospital)
|G4S 1st appt. requires GP or HCP referral for PTS. PTS requirements for follow up appts. are made by the clinic/department attending
|Queens Hospital: 01708 435 590
King George’s Hospital: 0208 970 8101
|Bart’s Health NHS Trust (includes St. Bartholomew’s and The Royal London)
|0330 041 6767
|Chelsea & Westminster Hospital NHS Trust
|PTS is arranged in house by the appointment staff on the appt. booking line
|0203 315 6666
|Great Ormond Street Hospital
|PTS is arranged in house by the ward or clinic direct. Patient to contact ward/clinic for eligibility check once appt. has been made
|0207 405 9200
|Guys & St Thomas Hospital
|0207 188 2888
|Homerton University Hospital
|Patient Transport Centre 1st appt. requires GP or HCP referral for PTS. Follow up appts. can be booked by the patient via the In-House Hospital Transport Team
|Outpatient Clinic: 0208 510 7777
Bryning Unit: 0208 510 8941
|Imperial College Healthcare (includes Charing Cross Hospital, Hammersmith Hospital, Queen Charlottes and Chelsea Hospital, St Mary’s Hospital Sidcup and Western Eye Hospital)
|Transport Booking Team: 0330 678 1245
Escalation Contact: 0330 678 1245
|Kings College Hospital (includes Denmark Hill, Princess Royal Hospital, Orpington Hospital, Beckenham Beacon and Queen Mary’s)
|Kings College PTS Provider – Medical Services PRUH, OH, BB and QMH – Savoy Ventures
|Denmark Hill: 0203 299 8000
All Other Hospitals: 0203 299 6886
|Moorfields Eye Hospital
|0333 240 4909
|Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust
|Transport advice available on the Royal Brompton NHS website
|0300 013 4995
0207 351 8012
|Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
|Patient Transport Assessment Centre
|0333 240 4909
|Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital
|0800 953 4138
|St Georges Healthcare (includes Queens Mary’s Hospital, Roehampton)
|St Georges and St. John’s Therapy Centre Patient Transport Assessment Team Queen Mary’s Hospital, Roehampton Requires GP or HCP referral for PTS
|0208 725 0808
0208 487 6000
|The Royal Marsden (includes Sutton and Chelsea Hospitals)
|Patient Transport Assessment Team Sutton Hospital Chelsea Hospital
|0208 661 3427
0207 811 8305
|Whittington Health NHS Trust
|0333 240 4909
|University College London Hospital (includes National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square)
|London Ambulance Services 1st appt. requires GP or HCP referral for PTS. Follow up appts. can be booked by the Transport Assessment Team
|0203 456 7010