Help with travel

You may be able to use our transport service or get help with the cost of getting to our hospitals.

Patient transport service

We offer free transport for patients with a medical need and who have no other means of travelling to the hospital for their appointments. 

You may be able to use our patient transport service if you:

  • are disabled
  • have a medical condition that stops you from using public transport
  • are having, or have had, surgery that affects how you can move 

Assessments for patient transport

We'll assess whether you qualify for this service. Assessments must be carried out at least 48 hours before your appointment. If you qualify, we'll book transport for you.

People who attend hospital on a regular basis will be assessed for the length of their treatment, or every 3 months. 

People coming to the hospital on an occasional basis will be assessed each time transport is required.

Request a review of our decision

If we have not offered you patient transport but you think you need it, you can ask for a second interview. Please call 020 7188 7188, extension number 58783.

You can also ask your GP for a letter that says why you need patient transport. The letter must be on the GP surgery's headed paper and sent to:

Patient transport service, college house, 2nd floor, South Wing, St Thomas' Hospital, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7EH

Single-person transport

We can only offer you single-person patient transport if you:

  • are a kidney transplant patient

  • are a cardiothoracic (heart and wider chest area including the lungs) surgery patient

  • have a vulnerable status, confirmed by a clinician

Contact us on 020 7188 2888, Option 1 (7.45am to 7pm, Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays).

You'll be asked to provide your hospital number and some medical information.

If you need assistance, a friend or relative can contact us on your behalf.

On the day before your appointment, we will contact you to:

  • make sure you are attending your appointment
  • confirm your address
  • check we have the appropriate vehicle for you
  • give you an estimated pick-up time.

Patient transport will aim to get you to the hospital 45 to 15 minutes before your appointment.

Please report to the reception desk so we know you have arrived.

We'll give you directions to your appointment or ask a porter to help you get there if you need assistance.

If an escort is booked to travel with you, escorts are expected to assist and take you to your appointment.

When you are ready to go home, go to the patient transport waiting area

Please report to the reception desk so we can organise transport for you. You will be looked after by our staff while you wait for your driver.

If you need transport when the waiting area is closed, please call 020 7188 7188.

Call 020 7188 2888, option 3 at any time.

Help with travel costs

To get help with travel costs, you need to meet 3 conditions.

  1. At the time of your appointment, you or your partner (including civil partners) must receive one of the qualifying benefits or allowances listed on the NHS website or meet the eligibility criteria for the NHS low income scheme.
  2. You must have a referral from a healthcare professional to a specialist or a hospital for further NHS treatment or tests. This is often referred to as secondary care.
  3. 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 the GP or another health professional issued the referral.

At the cashier's office

When you arrive for your appointment, let the reception staff know you want to claim back transport fares. They can fill out the right form for you.

To reclaim the money, take the completed form, with proof of your travel costs to one of our cashier's offices. You will need to provide the following:

  • the form authorised by the clinic
  • valid travel ticket (where travel ticket is not provided, mileage will be paid)
  • proof of entitlement
  • you will need to keep any ticket or receipts you have as proof of the cost and present it when claiming for your reimbursement.

By post

To claim your travel costs by post, you will need to complete an HC5(T) form (PDF 35KB). The form must be authorised by NHS Business Services Authority within the 3-month period from the date of your hospital appointment. You can get the form from the cashier's office, hospital clinic or ward, or JobCentre Plus offices.

You should make sure that the form (authorised by the hospital clinic or ward) and the travel ticket are attached to postal claims. If the travel ticket is not attached, mileage will be paid.

We will not pay postal claims outside the 3-month period unless authorised as accepted outside 3 months by NHS Business Services Authority. 

You can claim back the daily charge if:

  • you have a weakened immune system, need regular therapy or assessment, or need recurrent surgical treatment; and
  • the member of staff caring for you has completed the appropriate claim form, confirming you are too ill, weak or disabled to travel to your appointment on public transport

You will need to pay the congestion charge for the day that you drive to your hospital appointment. At your appointment, the staff caring for you will assess whether you are eligible for reimbursement.

If you are, you will need to provide your congestion charge receipt and the registration number of the vehicle that you travelled to the appointment in.

A travel claim form will be completed and signed by your doctor, nurse or other health professional. You will then be able to claim the charge back at our cashier's offices.

Travel costs paid by contactless payment or Oyster card can be reimbursed.

You can get a list of journeys made by visiting Transport for London (TfL).

You'll need to register your contactless payment card or Oyster card on the TfL website to get a record of your travel.

NHS patients travelling within the ultra low emissions zone (ULEZ) and/or the central London congestion charge zone to and from an NHS appointment may be able to claim a reimbursement of any daily charges for that appointment.

For more information please contact the cashier's officer on 020 7188 2329 or 020 7188 2343.


Last updated: November 2023

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