What is the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme?

The Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS) is part of the NHS Low Income Scheme which also covers other expenses such as prescriptions and glasses. Through it, financial help with travel costs may be claimed by patients who are referred for NHS treatment by their GP (or sometimes by their dentist). Visits to GP surgeries and dentists for routine care, as well as most A&E attendances, are not included.

Who can claim?

If you receive any of the following benefits you qualify for a full refund of necessary travel costs:

• Income Support
• Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
• Working Tax Credit with Child Tax Credit
• Working Tax Credit with a disability or severe disability element
• Child Tax Credit (if the award letter confirms income is below the relevant threshold)
• Pension Credit - Guarantee Credit
• Income-based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

If you are not on these specific benefits but have a low income, you may still be eligible for a full or partial refund through the NHS low income scheme.

How can I claim a refund?

To claim your travel costs, take your travel receipts, appointment letter or card, plus proof that you're receiving one of the qualifying benefits, to a nominated cashiers' office.

Nominated cashiers' offices are located in the hospital or clinic that treated you. They'll assess your claim and make the payment directly to you.

In some hospitals, the name of the office you need to go to may be different (for example, the General Office or the Patient Affairs Office).

How much can I claim?

If you qualify, you will be entitled to a full or partial refund of necessary travel costs equivalent to the cheapest reasonable method of travel, which in most cases will be public transport.

Taxi fares will not normally be paid unless agreed in advance.

If patients use their own cars, the petrol rate is 15p per mile, and tolls and unavoidable car parking charges may be refunded.

For more information on the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme, please visit the NHS website.