Patient transport

Every month, over 10,000 patients require assistance to get to and from our hospitals. As a trust, we manage the safe and efficient transportation of our patients.

We're committed to continue improving our patient transport services. Since we took measures to improve the service for our patients, we have seen more than 90% of our renal patients being dropped off and picked up on time for their vital dialysis sessions. This is an improvement of more than 35% since January 2016.

As part of these improvements, we will also be introducing an assessment process so that our most vulnerable patients are prioritised for transport services, and alternative options are used where that is appropriate for the patients’ needs.

We're confident that our patients will receive a safe and sustainable transport service under our management. We're looking forward to building on our success with the renal transport service measures to make sure our patients can get to and from our hospitals safely and on time. 

Changes to patient transport services

We are changing the access to patient transport for some patients in line with guidance from the Department of Health. This guidance makes sure patients needing transport on medical grounds are prioritised for transport to and from our hospitals.

Initially, outpatients phoning to book hospital transport will be asked a series of questions by our trained call-handlers to establish eligibility. The eligibility questions were developed by clinicians to ensure that the most vulnerable patients are prioritised, and delays are minimised.

There will be an independent appeals mechanism for borderline cases.

On occasions patients will need their carer to travel with them. But if patients are able to travel safely in our ambulances with the support of our trained staff, then carers, friends or relatives will have to access other transport options.

If you repeatedly fail to cancel transport that you no longer require, you may not be eligible for these services in the future.

In May 2018, we met with a number of patients and clinicians to discuss these plans at events in Waltham Forest, Newham and Tower Hamlets. There was a lot of support from everyone that attended to provide a safe and efficient service that best meets the needs of our most vulnerable patients. There were also a number of suggestions made to improve our service even further by:

  • Providing more wheelchairs and assistance at drop off points
  • Providing clearer information to patients about reclaiming alternative transport costs
  • Providing clearer information to patients about getting to and from hospital
  • Improving the customer experience for patients using our transport service

In response, we are arranging for more wheelchairs and assistance at drop off points. We also updated our website with the information you need to know about coming to and from our hospitals, including information to reclaim travel costs. Finally, we delivered a customer care training programme for drivers, call centre staff and ward clerks.

We would welcome other ideas as we plan for the long term future of our transport services to further reduce delays faced by patients and provide a service that is better for the environment.

If you have any questions about these changes please feel free to get in touch with us by emailing our transport team or phoning 020 7767 3344.

How do I request patient transport?

Please contact our call centre on 020 7767 3344 to request transport. Our lines are open Monday to Saturday, between 7am and 8pm for booking transport, and 24/7 for queries.

You can request transport up to 30 days and no later than 72 hours in advance of your appointment date.

We will ask a series of questions to assess your eligibility. The same questions will be asked if you book your own transport or if transport is arranged on your behalf.

Each time you request transport, one of the team will check if this service is still right for you. This is because your medical condition and transport needs may change over time.

Find out how to get to and from our hospitals using public transport, including information on how to access a refund for your hospital transport costs.

For more information about requesting patient transport and eligibility visit NHS Choices

What do I do if I disagree with the decision regarding my eligibility?

Please contact our call centre on 020 7767 3344 to log a review and appeal.

Fare Reimbursement Guidelines

1. Am I entitled to claim travel expenses?

    You are entitled to claim travel expenses if you are in receipt of one of the following:

  • ESA – income related only
  • Income Support
  • Pension Guaranteed Credit
  • Income Based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Certificate for low income – HC2 or HC3
  • NHS Tax Credit Exemption Certificate
  • War Pension (provided your treatment is for your accepted disablement)
  • Universal Credit;


2. What documentation do I need to claim?

    To claim travel expenses you must take the following 3 items to the Fares Office:

  • Proof of your entitlement
  • A completed Travel Claim Form from the department you have attended
  • Proof of travel :
    • Travel by Bus and Tube will be paid at the Oyster fare only. Oyster reading to be provided to show cost of journey.
    • Train Ticket
    • Petrol receipt (Petrol paid @ 15p per mile) Petrol receipts must be dated within a week of the appointment date.
  • Please Note: Taxi costs are NOT reimbursed. The trust will only pay equivalent to the public’s fare. Patient unable to travel by public transport should arrange hospital transport via Travel Shop.


3. Can I claim for my escort?

If you require an escort to travel with you, you must produce a letter from your consultant or GP stating that you are medically unfit to travel alone. This letter must be produced each time you claim and is valid for 6 months only.

Please Note: The hospital will not reimburse travel expenses for visitors to patients on wards.


4. When can I make my claim?

You can make a claim by visiting the Fares Office in person during the following times:-

Monday – Friday 09:00 – 16:00, and closes between 12.00 – 12:30.

You can claim up to 3 months after the date of travel but no longer.


5. Can I make a claim by post?

To make a postal claim you need to send us all the relevant documents (1) Claim form signed by designated         department (2) Appointment letter where applicable (3) Proof of entitlement see above (4) Receipt for the journey. Photocopies may be sent of your entitlement letter and tickets but the original Travel Claim Form must be sent. Where claims are not made in cash on the day of the appointment patients will be asked to provide their bank details so that we can pay by bank transfer.


All documents must be sent to:

The Cashiers Office
St Bartholomew’s Hospital
West Smithfield

St Bartholomew's Hospital: 0203 465 6891
The Royal London Hospital: 0203 5941040