Travel to receive NHS treatment
Certain groups can claim help with the cost of travel to receive NHS care in England if they:
- are referred by a doctor (GP or hospital doctor), ophthalmic practitioner or dentist
- make an extra journey to go to hospital or another place to receive NHS care
- travel by the cheapest method of transport which it is reasonable for them to use
For more information:
- if you live in England, read leaflet HC11 (PDF: 297KB)
- if you live in Scotland, visit www.gov.scot and search for HCS1
- if you live in Wales, read leaflet HC11W (in English) (PDF: 549KB) or leaflet HC11W (in Welsh) (PDF: 356KB)
If you’re entitled to help with the cost of travel, tell the hospital (or place where you’re being treated) that you want to claim back the cost of your journey. If your place of treatment issues payments, you will be able to claim your money back during your visit. They will ask you to show proof of your entitlement, such as your award notice or your NHS tax credit exemption certificate .
You will need to keep any tickets or receipts you have as proof of the cost. If your place of treatment does not issue payments (for example, a GP practice or dental surgery where you have been referred for specialist treatment), you will need to claim your expenses using an HC5 claim form.
If you live in England
Download and print the HC5(T) form. The form tells you what to do.
HC5(T) travel refund form (97.2KB)
You can also order a form online and we'll post it to you.
If you live in Scotland
Download and print the Scottish HC5 form. The form tells you what to do.
HC5 – Scotland travel refund form (80.5KB)
You can also get an HC5 from your GP practice or pharmacy.
If you live in Wales
Call 0345 603 1108 (select the option for health publications) and ask for an HC5 form to be sent to you.
You might be able to get an HC5 from your Jobcentre, NHS hospital, GP practice, dentist or optician.
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England: help with health costs guides.
- HC11 (297.44kB)
- HC12 (151.84kB)
Wales: Help with health costs guides
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- Help with health costs in Wales (in Welsh) (355.24kB)
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Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS)
If you're referred to hospital or other NHS premises for specialist NHS treatment or diagnostic tests by a 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).
This page explains who's eligible for the scheme and how to make a claim.
If you have questions about help with health costs, contact the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) online or call 0300 330 1343. They will respond to your queries Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm and Saturday, 9am to 3pm.
Who can claim for help with travel costs?
To qualify for help with travel costs under the HTCS, you must meet 3 criteria:
- 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 for specialist care 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 the GP or another health professional issued the referral.
Children and other dependants
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 above.
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 healthcare professional says it's medically necessary for someone to travel with you.
Some integrated care boards (ICBs) 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 with you to your appointment.
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 a 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.
What are the qualifying benefits and allowances?
You can claim help with travel costs if you or your partner (including civil partner) receive any of the following benefits:
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
- you receive Universal Credit and meet the criteria
You can also claim for help with travel costs if:
- you're named on, or entitled to, an NHS tax credit exemption certificate (if you do not have a certificate, you can show your award notice) – you qualify if you get child tax credits, working tax credits with a disability element (or both), and have income for tax credit purposes of £15,276 or less
- you have a low income and are named on certificate HC2 (full help) or HC3 (limited help) – you can apply for these certificates through the NHS Low Income Scheme
Find out more about NHS tax credit exemption certificates on the NHSBSA website .
Find out more about the NHS Low Income Scheme .
What form of transport can I use?
The NHS organisation handling your claim will normally base any refund on what would have been the cheapest suitable mode of transport for your circumstances.
This can include your age, medical condition or any other relevant factors, such as the availability of public transport.
This means you should use the cheapest, most appropriate means of transport, which in most cases will be public transport.
If you travelled by car and your claim was approved, you'll be reimbursed for the cost of fuel at the mileage rate used by your local integrated care board (ICB) .
You may also be able to claim for unavoidable car parking and toll charges.
If you need to use a taxi, you should agree this in advance with the hospital or ICB before you travel.
Patients in London may be able to claim reimbursement of congestion charges or Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) charges. Get more information on reimbursements of the Congestion Charge and ULEZ charge on the Transport for London website .
Help with similar schemes in other areas may be available – check with your ICB.
Help with travel costs before your appointment
You're expected to pay for your travel and claim back the costs within 3 months.
In some cases, you may be able to get an advanced payment to help you attend your appointment.
The NHS service providing your treatment should be able to tell you how to apply. Alternatively, contact your local ICB for advice.
How do 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).
If you're not sure, ask reception or Patient Advice and Liaison Services (PALS) staff where you should go.
Some hospitals and clinics do not have cashier facilities. In this case, you can complete an HC5(T) travel refund form and post it to the address stated on the form.
You can make a postal claim up to 3 months after your appointment took place.
You can download an HC5(T) form from the Travel to receive NHS treatment page of the NHSBSA website .
Can I claim travel expenses for treatment abroad?
If you're travelling abroad for treatment on the NHS, you may be able to claim for travel costs incurred travelling from your home to the international railway station, port or airport where you leave Great Britain and your international journey begins.
This is treated the same as if you were travelling from home to receive NHS care in Great Britain. You can claim for these costs if you would normally qualify for help with travel costs through the HTCS.
The cost of your travel from the port in Great Britain to the place of treatment abroad falls within NHS foreign travel expenses and cannot be claimed through the HTCS.
NHS foreign travel expenses are necessary travel expenses that a person incurs when travelling abroad from a port in Great Britain to receive services arranged by the NHS.
You'll only be entitled to have NHS foreign travel expenses paid for when the health service body that made the arrangements for services to be provided overseas agrees the mode and cost of travel, and the necessity or otherwise for a companion. This all has to happen before the costs are incurred.
Find out more about going abroad for medical treatment.
- Call 0300 330 1348 for the dental services helpline
- Call 0300 330 1343 for the Low Income Scheme helpline
- Call 0300 330 1341 for queries about medical exemption certificates
- Call 0300 330 1341 for queries about prescription prepayment certificates (PPCs)
- Call 0300 330 1349 for the prescription services helpline
- Call 0300 330 1347 for queries about tax credit certificates
- Call 0300 123 0849 to order a paper copy of the HC12, HC5 and HC1 (SC) forms
- Call 0300 330 1343 for all other queries
Page last reviewed: 14 August 2023 Next review due: 14 August 2026
Claim a refund for travel costs to receive NHS treatment: form HC5W(T)
Use this form if you are entitled to claim a refund for travel costs for NHS treatment under the care of a consultant.
Read details on this page
- Help with health costs (Sub-topic)
Claim form for a refund of travel costs to receive NHS treatment: form HC5W (T) , file type: PDF, file size: 80 KB
If you are on a low income and you need to travel to a NHS treatment under the care of a consultant, you can claim help with the cost of your travel.
If you need help with travel costs and you are aged 16 or over, please complete this form. If you are under 16, your parent(s) should fill in this form, as it is their income that counts.
You may also have to submit an HC1W claim form .
You can request a printed copy of this form via email or by calling the publications order line on 0345 603 1108 (Rydym yn croesawu galwadau’n Gymraeg / We welcome calls in Welsh).
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Hospital Travel Costs Scheme
You may get financial help from the Hospital Travel Costs Scheme if you're on a low income, need Health Service treatment at a hospital, Health Service centre or private clinic and have been under the care of a consultant.
Who can claim
You can claim hospital travel costs if you, or those you depend on, get at least one of the following:
- Income Support
- Jobseeker's Allowance (income-based)
- Employment and Support Allowance (income-related)
- Guarantee Pension Credit
Depending on your income level you may also qualify for the scheme if you get one of the following:
- Child Tax Credit (with or without Working Tax Credit)
- Working Tax Credit with the disability element or severe disability element
Use the tax credit calculator to check if your income is too high for tax credits and work out what money you could get. There is no set limit for income because it depends on your circumstances and those of your partner.
- Tax credits calculator
If an adult or dependant child has to travel to your treatment with you for medical reasons, you can claim their travel costs too.
Help with health and travel costs
If you are claiming Universal Credit you may be able to get help with health and travel costs for you, your partner or your children. You may be able to get help with the cost of:
- dental treatment
- eye sight tests
- glasses or contact lenses
- travel for treatment on referral by a doctor or dentist
To find out if you can get this help you will need to make a claim using Health Costs Form HC1 . Once you have completed this form you can post it or hand it into your local Jobs & Benefits office .
More information is available at Help with health costs
If a member of your family receives Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance (income-based) or Employment and Support Allowance (income-related) you will have to claim help from the Hospital Travel Costs Scheme. For Pension Credit Guarantee Credit the entitlement is automatic regardless of who in the household receives the benefit.
If you're on a low income but don't get any of these benefits or allowances, you may still claim travel costs through the Health Service Low Income Support Scheme.
How much you'll get
If you're on a relevant benefit or allowances you get back the full travel costs by using the cheapest form of public transport available, including any concessions or promotions.
This applies to however you travel. For example, if you use a private car you can claim for petrol instead (and car parking charges where unavoidable) up to the cost of the same journey by public transport.
The hospital should tell you the mileage rate for petrol costs for private transport.
If public transport is unavailable or impractical (perhaps you can't get to your appointment on time or your mobility is restricted), you'll need to contact the hospital well ahead of your appointment. They will need to check your new travel arrangements are allowed.
If you're on the Health Service Low Income Support Scheme you may get back all or some of your travel costs depending on which certificate you've been given.
How to claim
You can claim at the hospital or clinic at the time of your appointment. You'll be paid back immediately in cash, when you show any of the following:
- proof of a qualifying benefit (such as an award notice)
- a tax credit exemption certificate (you'll get this automatically if you qualify)
- a certificate showing you qualify for the Health Service Low Income Support Scheme
You can claim help with travel costs up to three months after your appointment if you can prove you were eligible to claim at the time. To do this, fill in a refund claim form HC5, which you can get from Health Service hospitals and Jobs and Benefits offices .
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Claim form for a refund of travel costs to receive NHS treatment - HC5(T)
Series : help with health costs.
You can claim help with the cost of travel if you are on a low income and have made an additional journey to receive NHS care following a referral by a doctor (GP or hospital doctor) or dentist.
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