Most people drive, use public transport, or rely on the kindness of family and friends to get to the doctor, pharmacist, or hospital on time. But, if you don’t have good access to transport, it can mean that you’re late or end up missing your appointment. It can be even harder if you need to attend regular appointments at a hospital for long-term conditions, such as chemotherapy treatment for cancer.
There are lots of reasons why you might not be able to get to NHS services easily for non-emergency issues. For example, we often hear from people who are physically unable to travel, can’t afford transport, or live in a rural area.
Here, we provide some information about the support available to help make this easier for you.
What support is available?
If you need help getting to appointments, find out whether you’re eligible for NHS-funded support.
If you can’t travel because of your medical condition
Ask your GP or the person who referred you to the hospital whether Patient Transport Services run in your area. These services provide free transport to and from a hospital for:
- People whose condition means they need additional medical support during their journey
- People who find it difficult to walk
- Parents or carers of children who are being transported
If you’re travelling on public transport
If you do not receive benefits, but you are having to make frequent trips by public transport, there may be weekly or monthly season tickets that can reduce costs, or options such as booking tickets online, which may work out cheaper than the full cost of one ticket.
For students, people with disabilities and those over 60 there are often options for reduced or free travel passes.
- In some areas, people can apply for a bus pass that allows you to travel free of charge if you're over 60 or above pensionable age (depending on the area).
- National Rail offers a range of discounts and concessions for children, people over 60, and people with disabilities.
- To apply for disabled bus travel passes visit the Swindon Borough Council website to find out more. These can sometimes be also to include a companion traveller, depending on the disability and mental capacity for independent travel.
Non-Emergency Patient Transport
Some patients who require help getting to and from the hospital may be able to arrange free transportation to their appointments.
Across Bath and North East Somerset, Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire, the service is provided by E-zec Medical Transport Services Ltd.
Non-emergency patient transport is an NHS-funded service which supports patients who, due to their limited mobility or current medical condition, are unable to make their own way to the hospital.
You can find out more on the Non-Emergency Patient Transport Services (NEPTS) for Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire section of the E-Zec Medical Transport website or in our 'Find Services' section.
Could you get a refund for your hospital transport costs?
If you’re not eligible for Patient Transport Services, you could claim a refund for the cost of your travel or taking a child to the hospital through the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme.
You may be able to benefit from the service if:
- You can’t afford the cost of travelling to the hospital
- You can’t get a friend or relative to take you
Alternatives if you don't qualify for non- patient emergency transport
Steps service is subsidised transport under Swindon Borough Council to help those who can’t use public transport. This can be used for medical appointments including to hospital.
For the first 2 miles it is £2.70 and for every mile, after it is 50p extra. People with SBC vouchers instead of bus passes can use their vouchers.
You would need to become a member of their system and can do so over the phone by giving your details. This service runs from 09:00 until 16:00 Monday to Friday.
2267 Dunbeath Road, Elgin Industrial Estate, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN2 8EA
Dial A Ride
Dial A Ride continues to run their services including group transport (no takers due to COVID-19), Shopper buses in Stratton and Old Town, Volunteer Car service and the Dial A Ride Hospital pre-bookable service.
Newcombe Drive, Hawksworth Trading Estate, Swindon, SN2 1DZ
(01793) 616050 Dial A Ride (01793) 617828 Community Transport