Close navigation

Help with travel costs for medical appointments

Under the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS), you may be able to claim back money spent travelling to and from the hospital.

If you or your loved one have been diagnosed with a brain tumour, you may be entitled to financial help with costs incurred for travelling to and from hospital appointments, as well as parking charges. 

This usually involves being able to claim back costs, rather than receiving up front payment.

The NHS will normally only refund costs of the cheapest form of transport for your circumstances. In most cases, this will be public transport, but the NHS will take into account your age, medical condition, and other relevant factors, such as availability of public transport.

Can I get help with healthcare travel costs?

You must meet certain criteria to qualify for such assistance, including the following:

  • You or your partner must be on certain benefits or your income is sufficiently low (see below).
  • You must have a referral letter from your healthcare team to a specialist hospital for further NHS treatment or tests.
  • Your appointment (that you’re claiming for) is on a different visit to the one when your referral was made.

If you or your partner (including civil partner) are on the following benefits, you can claim help with travel costs:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Job Seekers Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • 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
  • Universal Credit

You can also claim if your weekly income is sufficiently low and your savings are below a certain level.

You can also claim help with travel costs if:

  • you’re named on, or are entitled to, an NHS tax credit exemption certificate
  • you’re named on an HC2 or HC3 certificate from the NHS Low Income Scheme.

How do I claim?

You must claim back within 3 months of your appointment and you’ll need your:

  • travel receipts
  • appointment letter or card
  • proof that you’re receiving one of the benefits.

You'll need to take these to a nominated cashiers’ office (although this may be known by a different known), which are normally located in the hospital or clinic that treated you. You can ask reception or PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Services) where to find the office.

Visit the NHS website for more information and a full list of eligibility criteria.


If you’re caring for someone who’s living with a brain tumour, you may be able to receive help with travel costs to the hospital through a Budgeting Loan from the government’s Social Fund. Eligibility criteria apply, including low income or receiving income-related job seekers allowance. And you have to pay the money back.

For more information, speak to our expert benefits advisor by booking an appointment for our free telephone Benefits Clinic.

Help with hospital parking costs

Hospital car parking policies are different across the UK.

  • In England, many hospitals give free car parking or discounts to people with cancer (high grade tumours). However, this isn’t always clearly advertised, so ask your hospital if this is something they do.
  • In Wales, all hospital parking is free.
  • In Scotland, hospital parking is free at most hospitals but some still charge for privately-run car parks. 
  • In Northern Ireland, hospital parking is free if you’re having chemotherapy or radiotherapy. It's also free if you’re a partner or relative and are transporting the person having chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Hospitals can give free parking to others at their discretion.

Get support

If you need someone to talk to or advice on where to get help, our Support and Information team is available by phone, email or live-chat.

Share your experiences and help create change

By taking part in our Improving Brain Tumour Care surveys and sharing your experiences, you can help us improve treatment and care for everyone affected by a brain tumour.

If you have further questions, need to clarify any of the information on this page, or want to find out more about research and clinical trials, please contact our team:

Support and Information Services

0808 800 0004 (free from landlines and mobiles)

Phone lines open Mon-Fri, 09:00-17:00

You can also join our active online community - Join our online support groups.