What to do if you find it difficult to get to your hospital appointment

Bus at a bus stop, man in wheelchair is using the ramp access

Sometimes you have a health problem that needs specialist care. This usually means you will be referred to hospital by a GP, dentist or optician. However, that hospital could be far away. If you will find it difficult to get there, there are a few options:

  • Tell your GP, dentist or optician that you will have difficulty getting to that hospital. They might be able to refer you to a different hospital or clinic that is cheaper/easier to get to.
  • If you are physically able to drive or use public transport, you might be able to claim money back for your travel and/or parking costs. This service is only for people on a low income and people with an HC2 or HC3 certificate. This includes partners and children under 16. Sometimes you can ask for help in advance. See the NHS website to find out if you qualify for the travel costs scheme. There are some rules:

– The appointment cannot be a routine check-up

-The appointment cannot be on the same day as the referral

-You must use the cheapest transport that you can manage (this is usually a bus, but could be a car or even a taxi if you have limited mobility – check with the hospital first).

-You must make your claim for money within 3 months

  • If you are severely disabled, you should be able to use the NHS patient transfer service.
  • The charity St John Ambulance also offers patient transport for some people.
  • For people who are not physically able to use public transport, but don’t qualify for NHS transport or St John Ambulance, there might be a local voluntary patient transport charity that can help. This is usually a group of local people who will help others by driving them to hospital. Ask at your GP surgery (local doctor).

Image: Anizza/Dreamstime

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