Travel to and parking at hospital

There are a number of ways you may be able to get help with your travel and parking costs:

  • If you have a low income or receive certain benefits, you may be able to claim a refund on your transport fares to hospital for treatment through the NHS Low Income Scheme.
  • Some areas have local schemes that help with transport fares to hospital, including the Highlands and Islands Travel Scheme in Scotland, and the Isles of Scilly Travel Cost Scheme.
  • If you are visiting a close relative or partner in hospital and you receive certain benefits, you may sometimes be able to get help with your travel costs through your local council.

Hospital parking policies vary. Some hospitals in England have reduced parking costs for people with cancer. In Scotland and Wales, parking is generally free, with a few exceptions. Ask at your local hospital to find out their parking policy.

In Northern Ireland, parking is free for people receiving chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Travel and parking costs

Travelling to and from hospital can be expensive, especially if you are undergoing treatment on a daily basis, over a period of weeks. The costs quickly add up, but there is help available. 

Claiming a refund

If you have to travel to hospital for treatment, you may be able to claim a refund on:

  • your bus or train fares 
  • some petrol costs 
  • taxi fares (in exceptional circumstances). 

If you need someone to travel with you to hospital for medical reasons, you may be able to get a refund of their travel costs too.

Who can claim

You can claim a refund if you’re included in an award of one of the following benefits:

  • Income Support 
  • the guarantee element of Pension Credit 
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance 
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance 
  • Universal Credit. 

You can also claim if you:

  • are entitled to, or named on, a valid NHS tax 
  • exemption certificate 
  • have a low income 
  • receive a valid war pension and are being treated for your war disability. 

How to claim

You can usually get your refund at the hospital – check what you have to do before you travel. You’ll need to bring proof that you receive one of the benefits listed above, such as your payment book or benefit award letter. You’ll also need to bring proof of your travel costs, for example tickets or receipts.

Some voluntary organisations have drivers who can give people lifts to hospital and other destinations. Check at your local library for details of voluntary organisations in your area.


The Highlands and Islands Travel Scheme

Under this scheme, people from the Highlands and Islands in Scotland can claim a refund of their travel costs to hospital.

You must pay the first £10 of any fare you’re claiming, unless you’re getting certain means-tested benefits.

To qualify, you must live or work in the former Highlands and Islands Development Board area. You must travel at least 30 miles from your home, or travel by water for more than five miles. If you need someone to travel with you, their expenses can also be paid for. Medical staff would have to confirm that this is medically necessary for you.

Ask your GP or the cash office at the hospital for a claim form.


Isles of Scilly Travel Cost Scheme

The NHS funds transport for all Isles of Scilly residents to get to and from the mainland for hospital treatment. You have to pay a £5 booking fee.

Ask your GP or the hospital you’re visiting for a claim form.


Hospital parking

Hospital parking policies in England vary. Many hospitals have concessions for people with cancer, but they aren’t always well-publicised. You should ask your hospital what their policy is, as you may be entitled to free or cheaper parking.

In Scotland, parking is free except at three privately run hospital car parks in Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Hospital parking in Wales is free except at a few hospitals. Contact your hospital to find out whether parking is free.

In Northern Ireland, parking is free for people receiving chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Back to Help with transport and parking

The Blue Badge Scheme

The Blue Badge Scheme can help with parking costs if you have severe mobility problems.

Car and driving costs

You may qualify for schemes that help you buy or rent a car, scooter or powered wheelchair.