Health Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS)

The Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS) provides support for people on lower incomes. The scheme is part of the NHS Low Income Scheme which also covers other expenses such as prescriptions and glasses.

This page explains a little more about the scheme, including who is eligible and how people can claim.

Who can get help with travel costs?

You must meet the three conditions below to be eligible for support: 

  1. At the time of your appointment, you or your partner must receive one of the below benefits or allowances (or meet the eligibility criteria for the NHS Low Income Scheme):
  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Working Tax Credit (WTC) with Child Tax Credit (CTC)
  • WTC with a disability element or a severe disability element
  • CTC but you're not eligible for WTC
  • 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, you qualify if you get child tax credits, working tax credits with a disability element 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).
  1. You must have a referral form from a doctor or another health professional to a specialist or a hospital for further treatment or tests.
  1. Whatever the location of your appointment, it will also need to be on a separate visit to when your referral was made. This applies whether it’s a different location or the same place where you received your referral.

Children and Other Dependants

You can claim travel costs for your children if you’re eligible for any of the benefits descried under condition 1 above and your child has been referred to 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 health professional says it’s medically necessary for someone to travel with you. You will need to meet the conditions above, but your escort does not have to meet them.

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 in the hospital or clinic that treated you. They'll assess your claim and make the payment directly to you. If you're not sure, ask reception or the Patient Advice and Liaison Services (PALS) at the place you have your appointment.

Mid & South Essex NHS Foundation Trust Cashier Office 

Mid Essex Hospital – The cashier office is located within the main atrium next to the hospital’s main reception desk. It is open from Monday – Friday (8:30am – 18:00pm).

Basildon & Thurrock Hospital – Located at the main reception, opposite the main reception desk and next to security. It is open Monday – Friday (09:00am – 16:30pm).

Southend Hospital – It’s located at the general office in the previous main entrance. The Office is manned Monday – Friday (09:00am – 16:30pm).

Postal Claims

HC5(T) Refund claim forms need to be sent to NHS Business Services Authority, Bridge House, 152 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 6SN. Forms can be accessed by using the following link:

More information

You can find more information about making a the Healthcare Travel Cost Scheme on the NHS website.