Hospital patient transport

Good afternoon everyone Has anyone had any experience of patient hospital transport? I’m going to be using it from now on for my hospital appointments has my usual “lift” is no longer available. What I want to know is how does it all work? Do you have to wait around for hours on end to get brought home etc. Thanks Mini x

Hi Mini,

I have to say, I haven’t actually trued it, BUT I was in a similar position to you, and discovered that (a) you cannot refer yourself, despite the MS nurse telling me I could - first referral has to be from your GP, (b) the appearance is that you have to be “very bad” to qualify - I’m not saying you aren’t “very bad”, but I thought I would get a straight “no”, and (c) yes, you will be dependant on whatever they provide. It may be a door-to-door normal car, like a taxi, but you don’t get to choose. You could end up waiting hours to get home, by an ambulance that goes all round the houses, with umpteen other passengers.

In the end, I decided it was not going to be a good option for me, even if I qualified. I get very stressed about the hospital as it is, without the worry I might be stuck up there for hours after my appointment, with nowhere to go and nothing to do. (Appointments usually last all of two minutes).

Eventually, I settled for a local subsidised transport service. It’s run by volunteers but part-funded by the council. You would probably have to be on higher rate DLA mobility (or PIP equivalent) to get it free - which I am not. So I have to pay mileage. But it’s considerably cheaper than a taxi.

It’s not been completely without stress, as you do not seem to be able to get a confirmed booking until the day before - by which time, if they say no, it’s a bit late to start trying to arrange an alternative! Also I’ve had a bit of lip from one of the drivers, because I’m not visibly disabled! Even though he was driving me to and from the MS clinic, at the time, so he knew damn well I had a diagnosed illness, he asked if I was sure it wasn’t “all in the mind”. I think he thinks I’m cheeky to use the service.

So as I say, it hasn’t been an entirely stress-free and happy experience. But probably still better than hospital transport, or paying at least four times as much for taxis. And better than the bus, which is my only other alternative. All very well if they come, but they’re not reliable, and I get scared of missing the appointment. Plus I got home in a distressed state once, because I had to wait nearly two hours for the bus (I don’t know what happened - at least two in a row were cut out). I was freezing cold and exhausted (always whacked after the hospital anyway). I think it was about the closest I’ve ever come to bursting into tears in the street. I still use public transport quite regularly for other things, but do get quite stressed/upset with it at times, so don’t need the extra aggro on top of my hospital visits.

Do a bit of research (Google? Local library?) and see if there’s a voluntary/subsidised scheme in your area.



Thanks Tina. I’ve been on google but it doesn’t really go into much detail. Ill speak to my ms nurse see what’s what, thanks though Mini x

hi mini

before i got my motability car i used patient transport for about 12 months

they were good in my opinion.

they want you to be ready a good couple of hours before your appointment because they may need to pick other people up

but mostly there was only one other person sharing.

going home i had to wait in a special patient transport room until my driver came for me.

the longest i had to wait was an hour and a half.

give it a go.

i hope you find it as good as i did.

carole x


That’s the whole problem - the MS nurse didn’t have a clue. She wrongly told me I could book myself in for patient transport, and gave me the number to ring. This was complete codswallop, because when I rang them to enquire, I couldn’t do it anyway, unless I’d already been put forward by my doctor.

She didn’t know anything about any other way of getting to hospital - just assumed everyone will be driving (appointment came with complete with instructions about where to park). Don’t rely on them to know what’s available - it’s hopeless. I only found out by researching myself.

Try your local council website and search “disabled transport”, or “local transport schemes”, or even just “transport”. If you happen to be in the Bristol and Avon area (but I’m guessing you’re not) I can PM you the organisation and the number.



Thanks both of you. No Tina I’m West Yorkshire. It’s a right carry on all I want to do is get to hospital lol x

Shame, I knew you wouldn’t be local! Worth asking, though. I agree, it shouldn’t be such hassle. There does seem to be an assumption that everyone either drives, or has friends and relatives readily on hand to chauffeur them everywhere.

I don’t have family locally, and the neighbours all work! If they happened to be available anyway, they probably wouldn’t mind, but I can hardly expect them to take a day off.

Must be loads of people in this situation - and it can’t be only the severely disabled who think twice about public transport.



Mimi, I used to be a patient transport assessor , If things are still the same then If it is a gp referral to hospital you need to complete a questionaire which is provided by your gp surgery and they fax it to the patient transport dept at the hospital who then assess the form and decide whether you qualify. They will let you know in writing if the appt. is not in the next couple of days, if it is an urgent appt. they usually let you know by telephone. If you don’t qualify then the hospital transport dept should be able to provide you with information regarding alternative community car schemes in your area. If you do qualify then you have to be ready at least two hours before your appt. and be prepared for some waiting around for the journey home. If you get accepted and then need to arrange further transport to the hospital, i.e. a referral from within the hospital ( not a gp referral ) then you should tell the clinic that you need transport and the hospital clinic should arrange the transport for you. That’s how it always used to be in the East Anglian area.

Hi there, i have no idea what’s like in your area, but down here in Cornwall, if you are like me and cannot drive or use puplic transport ( the nearest bus stop to where i live is a mile away and i can’t walk that far and the buses are pretty unrealiable anyway) then you basically can’t get to your appointments and then you get taken off the list cos no ones seems to understand how hard it is to get places. I was ment to see a urologist over a year ago, but they sent me an appointment in Penzance ( which is over 80 miles from where i live) and would’ve cost me £120 to get there with patient transport! So now, i don’t get to see a urologist and just have to try and manage as best i can. Really hope it’s better in your area, love Bex xxx

Wow and we think we’re supposed to be looked after. Because that is a disgrace! I know ill just rent a private jet and fly there! X

I use this all the time and call it the Magical Mystery Tour as I go all over Leeds picking up other passengers. I’m not complaining though because I am grateful that we have the service and know that many other areas do not.

How it works here is that the initial request has to come from the GP – for subsequent appointments the clinic can request it.

We have to be ready up to 2 hours before appointment time (as I live miles away from anywhere you can almost guarantee that I will be first picked up!)

Waiting time after appointments vary – it could be 5 minutes, could be an hour. I suppose it depends who else is going my way. I take a book, my ipod and a sandwich and don’t stress about it. Some patents work themselves into a frenzy when they are kept waiting – it’s not worth it. I expect to be kept waiting and so am pleasantly surprised when I am not.

It would cost me over £40.00 each way by taxi – if somebody asked me to sit quietly for a couple of hours and they’d give me £80.00 I’d do it! It sweetens the waiting!