All Patient Transport Service (PTS) or NEPTS (Non-Emergency Patient Transport Services) bookings require a short eligibility assessment for NHS-funded transport. This involves a few questions to be asked at the time of the booking. This assessment process will ensure consistent adherence to the Department of Health Guidelines (2007). The aim is to:

  • Ensure that patients who genuinely need NHS-funded patient transport receive it
  • Patient needs are assessed fairly and equitably

To achieve this, patients will be assessed by their healthcare team. (An ambulance may not always be the appropriate method of getting a patient home, even if they arrived in one).

Other ways to help with transport

NEPTS is governed by NHS England and commissioned by Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). Eligibility rules are strictly applied and it is recognised that, due to the rural nature of Surrey, some patients who are not eligible for NEPTS may still require some form of travel advice.

Local councils, and in particular Surrey County Council, both operate and support a number of travel schemes within the county of Surrey. Further details on the schemes available can be found on the county council's website or via the Central Booking Service telephone line (0300 200 1067).

There are also regular local buses to all the Surrey hospitals. For the latest timetable details, you can call Travelline on 0871 2002233 or visit their website. Your local GP surgery may also keep lists of community and voluntary car schemes that may be able to help.

What if I’m not happy about the decision that’s been made?

If you have a medical need but have been declined NHS-funded transport you should, in the first instance, contact the Transport Booking Line on 0208 296 3960.

The Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS) may be able to provide financial help if you are not eligible for NEPTS but wish to claim the cost of travelling to hospital. There are very strict rules to ensure only patients eligible for help can claim travel costs. To claim assistance a person must be receiving:

  • Income-based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Or be in receipt of an HC2 or HC3 certificate (Low Income Support Scheme)

For further information, visit the NHS England website. The amount of reimbursement is based on the most reasonable and cheapest form of public transport available and will nearly always be the equivalent of a bus fare. To claim, you’ll need evidence that you meet the above criteria and have evidence of your attendance at the hospital. Claims are processed at the cash office of most of the Surrey hospitals. You will normally be paid in cash.

How do I book my hospital transport?

The transport will be booked by the appointments or the admissions team or can be booked directly with the Transport Booking Line on 0208 296 3960. You will not automatically have transport for each follow-up appointment. Your needs will be assessed each time you attend.

When would I be collected by the Transport Service?

If you have an outpatient appointment, your transport will be with you in plenty of time so that you should arrive promptly for your appointment.

After your appointment, inform the clinic receptionist that you are ready to go home so that you can be ‘booked ready’ for transport.

If you’re being discharged from hospital you’ll be advised when transport will be available to take you home.

You do need to be aware that your pick-up time could be well in advance of your appointment time as the vehicle may be collecting other patients on route. Likewise on return or discharge you may have to wait up to 90 minutes for your transport home and other patients are likely to be travelling with you. Your time in the vehicle could therefore be longer.

Who can use this service?

The Non-Emergency Patient Transport Service provides a vital lifeline for patients whose health conditions might affect their ability to travel without specialist care. You may be eligible to use the service if:

  • You require oxygen therapy from a skilled healthcare professional during transport
  • You need intravenous (IV) support
  • You can only be moved by stretcher
  • The treatment you are receiving leaves you so debilitated that you can’t use alternative transport
  • Your illness, condition or disability makes it difficult, impossible or undesirable to be moved by alternative transport
  • You need the skills or support of trained Patient Transport Service staff during your journey

You can’t use NEPTS if:

  • You don’t have a medical need
  • You are visiting your GP, dentist, pharmacist or optician

Can I bring someone with me?

You can only bring someone with you if this has been pre-authorised and:

  • You are under 16 years old
  • Your condition requires the constant attention of an escort throughout your journey

Complaints and appeals process

If a patient is unhappy with an eligibility decision, the first step is to explain the situation to the booking provider, who will attempt to resolve the issue.

If the patient and the booking provider are unable to reach a resolution, then the booking provider will pass the contact details onto their team leader/lead clinician within the booking centre for further investigation/consideration. The booking provider will then get back to the patient with feedback and outcome of the investigation.

If, after trying steps 1 and 2, the patient remains dissatisfied with the assistance provided by the booking provider, they can register a formal complaint directly with the Complaints Department at Surrey Downs CCG by any of the following methods:

Telephone: Mon-Fri 0900-1700 on 01372 201685

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Write to: Surrey Downs CCG, Cedar Court, Guildford Road, Leatherhead, Surrey, KT22 9AE.

To help us deal with your complaint as quickly as possible, please include the following information: The patient’s name, address and telephone number; details of the request e.g. ‘To be taken from (home) to (hospital) on (date)’; any information provided by the booking provider e.g. reasons for the patient being ineligible; date and time (where possible) of the booking request made for transport.