Patient Transport

Patient transport called Patient Transport Services help patients with a medical need get to and from out-patient and in-patient appointments at medical venues and helps patients get home after discharge from hospital.

Patient transport services is provided for planned journeys only and not for emergency ambulance provision which is something separate. 

In Cumbria and across the North West patient transport services are operated by North West Ambulance Service (NWAS). Currently NWAS have different agreements with different health trusts so this is why one eligibility criteria is being applied to the whole region to ensure that provision is fair across the region.

There is a Patient Transport Services advice leaflet here.


Criteria for Patients using Patient Transport Services

From 4th October 2010 in north Cumbria (Allerdale, Copeland, Carlisle and Eden) and from early in 2011 in south Cumbria (South Lakes and Furness), a new national eligibility criteria came into operation to assess patients for their eligibility to access Patient Transport Services.

This is to ensure the system is used in the same way for everyone.

NHS Cumbria is one of a number of primary care trusts who were early adopters of this criteria which will from 2011 will be used in all areas across the North West and England to assess if a patient has a medical need to use patient transport services.

Patients may be eligible for PTS in the following circumstances:

  • Where the medical condition of the patient is such that they require the skills or support of PTS staff on/after the journey
  • Where it would be detrimental to the patient's condition or recovery if they were to travel by other means.
  • Where the patient's medical condition impacts on their mobility to such an extent that they would be unable to access healthcare
  • Recognised as a parent or guardian where children are being conveyed.


Booking Patient Transport Services

To book hospital transport you or someone on your behalf will ring a call centre to make the booking. The call handler will then ask a few questions about your general health and mobility to see if you might be eligible for NHS transport.

If you are making the booking yourself, you will probably need your NHS number to do this. If you don't know it, you can ask your GP surgery or a health professional who is treating you and they will be able to provide it.

Patients who book their own PTS will be taken through the criteria over the phone by the call handler at the call centre.

To book patient transport call: 0845 1481733

Information on transport alternatives if you do not meet the eligibility criteria for patient transport services.


Any patient who would like advice on patient transport can contact NHS Cumbria’s Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on 0300 123 9006 and leave a message for someone to call them back.


Before you ask for NHS transport please consider other ways to get to your appointment such as:

  • using your own car
  • asking a friend
  • using local transport. Visit Traveline for details, or call them: 0871 200 22 33.


If you are not entitled to NHS transport but you are on a low income, you may be entitled to help with your travel costs. Ask at you local Benefits Office, for a copy of 'Help With Your Health Costs' or call in at the hospital's general office with your appointment card or letter, proof of your income status and they will be happy to help you. You can also download a copy of Form HC5 Travel, a claim form for a refund of travel costs to receive NHS treatment

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