Healthwatch mystery shoppers phoned GP surgeries and visited local hospitals to see how easy it was to make a claim for reimbursement under the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme.
We found that the scheme was not well known or understood at the GP surgeries we spoke to, and not all hospitals made the claims process accessible.
- GP reception staff in particular need to be informed about the scheme and when it might apply to patients using their services.
- Messaging should stress that the scheme is for patients on benefits or low income (rather than those with limited mobility).
- Only University College Hospital included a prepaid envelope with their postal claim form. All hospitals should adopt this practice.