Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS)
If you’re 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).
If you meet the criteria to be eligible, you can claim at the time of your appointment if you bring evidence of eligibility. Claim forms will be available at your appointment but please raise any queries with the relevant team or service prior to your appointment.
Who can claim for help with travel costs?
To qualify for help with travel costs under the HTCS, you must meet 3 conditions:
- At the time of your appointment, you or your partner (including civil partners) must receive one of the qualifying benefits or allowances listed on this page, or meet the eligibility criteria for the NHS Low Income Scheme.
- You must have a referral from a healthcare professional to a specialist or a hospital for further NHS treatment or tests (often referred to as secondary care).
- Your appointment must be on a separate visit to when the referral was made. This applies whether your treatment is provided at a different location (hospital or clinic) or on the same premises as where your GP or another health professional issued the referral.
Children and other dependents
You can claim travel costs for your children if you’re eligible for any of the benefits described under condition 1 and your child has been referred for treatment as outlined in condition 2 and condition 3.
If your child is aged 16 or over, they may make their own claim under the Low Income Scheme.
Carers and escorts
You can claim travel costs for an escort if your health professional says it’s medically necessary for someone to travel with you.
Some clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) may accept claims for help with travel costs if you’re the parent or guardian of a child under the age of 16 who you have to bring to your appointment with you.
These payments are made on the basis of the patient’s eligibility for the scheme, irrespective of the escort’s eligibility.
Who cannot claim help with travel costs?
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.