Travelling for Healthcare

If you're going to a healthcare appointment for non-emergency tests or treatment, you'll normally be expected to make your own way there using your own transport or the range of public, community and voluntary transport available locally.

Travel on the Isle of Wight

Hospital Car Service

The Hospital Car Service is run by volunteer drivers, using their own cars, who can collect patients for appointments if they are not able to drive themselves or use public transport. Car service drivers have no medical training and carry no special equipment.

There is a charge for this service of between £6 and £14 dependent upon the distance across the island and this can increase if mainland travel is required. Payment is always made to the driver at the time of travel. To book a journey contact 01983 822099 Extension 5443 (Office hours only).

Optio Voluntary Car Service

Community Action Isle of Wight provides Optio Voluntary Car Service. This is a membership scheme for the elderly and frail. The service operates with volunteer drivers using their own vehicles to take passengers to pre-booked destinations. These are often for medical appointments, but can also be for other reasons. For more information see:

Good Neighbour Scheme

This volunteer driver service managed by Age UK Isle of Wight provides support for older people with no family or friends to turn to in times of need. It is for Island residents over 50 who cannot access public transport. The service is for medical, optical and dentistry appointments. For further information contact: 01983 525282 or visit:

Isle of Wight NHS Trust Non-Emergency Patient Transport Service

The Patient Transport Service (PTS) is for patients who are unable to get to their NHS appointments or treatments because they have a medical need for special transport. To be eligible for the service, you must need support or assistance during the journey to your healthcare appointment.

PTS is for patients who have been assessed as requiring transport due to medical need. The NHS is not able to provide PTS for social reasons, or for privately funded appointments and treatment, and there are strict national eligibility criteria for this type of transport depending on the patient’s medical condition and the amount of support or assistance required on the journey.

If the Patient Transport Service is required and identified by your GP for your first hospital clinic appointment your GP will authorise and book your transport. Further requests for transport must be identified and authorised by the Consultant or Allied Health Care Professional who is treating you. 

The Department of Health Eligibility Criteria for Patient Transport Services (PTS) is available here:

You can cancel or check your Patient Transport by ringing the HUB by contacting: 01983 534964

For further information please see:

Travel on the mainland

The following leaflets provide advice and guidance for travelling to the mainland for healthcare:

The Cross-Solent travel providers have a number of schemes for patients travelling for healthcare:

Should you meet the national eligibility criteria you may be able to claim a refund under the Healthcare Travel Costs Schemes (HTCS) (see below).

National schemes

NHS Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS)

HTCS provides financial help with travel costs for patients with a low income 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.

The hospital where you are receiving treatment can advise you about making a travel costs claim (at most hospitals this will be the general office or cashier’s office), and they will be able to supply the correct forms. Information and advice can also be obtained from the NHS helpline on 0300 330 1343.

Help with Travel Costs for NHS Patients provides advice regarding eligibility and exclusions.

For further information please see NHS Choices – NHS in England: Healthcare Travel Cost Scheme.

NHS Choices

NHS Choices provides useful information about available support schemes should you meet eligibility.