Patient Transport Eligibility Update – May 2022

Patients who are ‘clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV)’ will no longer qualify for the non-emergency patient transport service (NEPTS).

At the start of the pandemic, NHS England changed the rules on who was eligible to receive NEPTS to include CEV patients, but it has now reversed that decision.

CEV patients will now only qualify for NEPTS if they meet the standard national eligibility criteria in some other way - see below for details.

Who is eligible for NHS Funded Transport?

NEPTS will be provided to patients who physically cannot access healthcare facilities because they require the skills and/or assistance of a trained ambulance crew. Some examples being:

  • Patients who are bedbound and need a stretcher to travel
  • Patients who require medical gases during the trip to hospital
  • Some wheelchair-bound patients
  • Patients who need to be carried up to/down from their residence
  • Patients who are travelling on their own but have limited capacity, such as dementia patients
  • Patients who cannot walk without continual physical support (not including the use of aids such as walking sticks or Zimmer frames)

To qualify for NEPTS, it must be detrimental to the patient’s health or recovery if they travelled by any other means, including a private taxi. The NHS expects that patients make their own transport arrangements to access healthcare. It should be made clear that NEPTS services cannot be provided for social or financial reasons alone.

Those who use NEPTS will need to use a face mask and sanitise their hands, confirm they do not have any flu-like symptoms before travelling and complete temperature checks before boarding the vehicle.

How can patients access support with costs for transport?

Patients who have a low income may be able to claim a refund for reasonable travel costs for attending hospital for treatment or tests, under the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme. Information about who can claim and how to do it is available on the NHS website or you can ask a question on the NHS Help with Health Costs Facebook page. More information is available on the NHS England and NHS Improvement website.

What help do we need from UCLH divisions?

To ensure our patient transport service is best in class and provides the service we would like it to deliver, we need your help in requesting NEPTS a minimum of three working days in advance whenever possible - this does not include weekends or public Bank Holidays. This will allow a better experience for patients and allow better patient flow across all our hospital sites. Where booking in advance is not possible, our transport operational teams at UCLH and G4S will make every effort to accommodate these short notice requests but delays are more likely to occur.

Service management

Other contact information

Transport Assessment Team
Telephone: 020 3456 7010
(Monday to Friday 9am-5pm)

Transport team
Email: Uclh.transport.department@nhs.net

Our non-emergency patient transport service is provided by G4S. G4S may use approved external sub-contractors to meet the demand of the service and/or the specific needs of our patients.

Patient transport is a non-urgent, planned, transportation of patients with a medical need for transport to and from premises providing NHS healthcare and between NHS healthcare providers.

It is a service provided for patients for whom it would be detrimental to the health or recovery to attend hospital appointments by public transport or any other means (including private minicab) or those patients that need the skills and support of trained PTS on or after the journey.

Patients are required to make their own way to and from hospital appointments. If your medical condition affects your ability to travel safely (including with the help of friends, relatives or carers), our transport service can assess whether you meet the Department of Health and Social Care's criteria for eligibility to use this service.

Examples of Patients who may be eligible to access this service (but not limited to) are;

  • patients who need to be transported on a stretcher
  • some wheelchair patients
  • some patients receiving oxygen
  • patients who require paramedic services
  • patients who need the support of patient transport staff during or after the journey

Our Transport Assessment team assess patients in accordance with the Department of Health and Social Care’s Guidelines. We will only provide transport to those patients who are physically unable to make their appointment without the assistance of a trained ambulance crew.

Please call our patient transport assessment team on 020 3456 7010, where you will be assessed for your eligibility for the service under the Guidelines. If you/patient is deemed ineligible for patient transport, the member of the team may refer you to your GP or clinician to obtain more information.

If you feel that you are eligible to access the service based on the above conditions then please contact our assessment team on 0203 456 7010. This is a short, confidential telephone interview with a member of our staff to assess your transport needs against the Department of Health and Social Care’s eligibility criteria.

If you need help to request hospital transport, a friend, relative or carer can call on your behalf.

We require 3 working days (excluding weekends and public Bank Holidays) to book any type of transport provisions.

Where booking in advance is not possible, our transport operational teams at UCLH and G4S will make every effort to accommodate these short notice requests but delays are more likely to occur.

If you are unhappy with the outcome you can appeal decision which will then be reviewed by the nurse led team. The Transport team will also signpost you to alternative websites with details on how to access our sites via other Transport services. Transport is provided on medical not financial need, you may be able to claim your travel costs back via the health care travel costs scheme.

Yes. On the day before your hospital appointment

  • make sure you are still coming to your appointment
  • confirm your address
  • tell you the approximate pick-up time
  • check that the correct type of vehicle has been booked for you.

This depends on your postcode, but you will be advised at the time of booking and again on the reminder call the day prior to travel. 

Please be ready when transport arrives, as drivers will only wait for up to 15 minutes.

We will show you the way to the hospital reception area where a member of staff will tell you how to get to your appointment or arrange for a porter to take you there.

A porter request can take up to 30 minutes.

If you need to, collect any medication from the Pharmacy then let the Transport staff know that you are ready to go home.

We will try to get you home as soon as we can. However, you may have to wait up to 90 minutes to be collected.

It is important to note that journeys are planned to make the most effective use of our vehicles. This means that other patients may share the same vehicle with you.

We use the Department of Health and Social Care guidelines to decide whether an escort is appropriate. We will do this as part of the assessment process.
 

If your appointment is changed, or you cannot attend your appointment, please ring us as soon as possible on 020 3456 7010 to avoid wasted journeys.