Alternative Patient Choice

If you have been waiting more than 40 weeks for your first outpatient appointment or a scheduled date for surgery with us, you could now be eligible for Alternative Patient Choice.

Over the coming weeks, starting from 31 October 2023, patients who have been waiting the longest will receive either a text message, email or letter from us. This message will ask if you would like to consider moving your care to a different hospital, initially within the Humber and North Yorkshire area, if it means you are able to receive an appointment more quickly.

You do not need to contact us to make enquiries; if you become eligible for the scheme, we will be in touch with more information and details of how to express an interest in moving hospitals.

There is, of course, no obligation to move your care. If you don’t take up the offer, you will simply stay in your current place on our waiting list and we will offer you an appointment date just as soon as possible.

If you do want to know more or think this could be right for you, you’ll be asked to register your details and say how far you would be willing to travel on the NHS website. Someone will then be in touch to let you know what happens next and which other hospitals in our region, if any, could see you more quickly. Full details on how to register will be provided through your letter, email or text message.

Alternative Patient Choice will not be suitable for everyone. Some exclusions apply (e.g. patients waiting for neurosurgery or cardiac care and the under 18s). It is important to be aware that, if you choose to be seen by a different hospital for a particular problem, all your care and future appointments related to that problem will also take place at the other hospital; care cannot be transferred back to us once you’ve received your appointment or treatment.

General Information

I think I should have received an invitation to change provider?

There is no need to contact us as we will be in touch if you are suitable to be offered Alternative Patient Choice, either via text message, email or letter. Offers to patients who have been waiting the longest will begin to go out from 31 October 2023 and will continue to be sent over the next 8 weeks. If you do not receive an invitation, it will most likely be because you fall into one of the ‘exclusion’ categories where choice cannot be provided. This is a big piece of work, so we do appreciate your patience and understanding.

How do I move to another hospital?

If you have received an invitation and would be interested in moving hospital, please follow the web link or call the national helpline number contained in your letter/message. You will be asked to provide a few details and confirm how far you would be willing to travel, then someone will be in touch with more information and to let you know if an alternative regional hospital is able to see you more quickly.

What happens if a place can’t be found for me?

If you register to transfer your care but a place cannot be found for you at a different hospital, you will simply stay on our waiting list and we will offer you an appointment just as soon as possible. You will not ‘lose your place’ on our list.

Can I have my first appointment / treatment elsewhere then return to my local hospital for follow-ups?

No. If you decide to be seen at another provider, all your other appointments associated with this particular episode of care – e.g. scans, pre-assessment and follow-ups – must all take place at the new hospital too.

What happens if I don’t reply to my invitation letter / email / text message?

If you receive an offer but don’t respond, you will simply stay on our waiting list and we will offer you an appointment just as soon as possible. You will not ‘lose your place’ on our list.

How long do I have to decide?

There is no time limit on your decision, as we understand some people may need more time than others to think about the offer.

I’ve received a text message / email but I’m not sure if it’s genuine?

Text messages will always come from Hull Hospitals and will be worded as follows:

“NHS HUTH Patients waiting over 40 weeks may wish to consider moving hospital to receive earlier treatment. If you wish to be considered to move hospitals please submit your details via Support to complete this is available on 0345 4506166″

Emails will arrive on headed paper from Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and will read as follows:

As you may be aware, NHS patients in England have the right to move to a different hospital to receive their care/treatment if they have been waiting longer than 18 weeks.

As the NHS continues to recover from the Covid pandemic, we are initially contacting all patients who have been waiting over 40 weeks and inviting them to be considered to move hospital to receive earlier care/treatment. Many patients may be deemed suitable to move provider, however the ability to change healthcare providers may not be clinically appropriate and in some circumstances, we may not be able to identify alternative capacity to facilitate a move.

It has been identified that you / your child have been waiting for an appointment for over 40 weeks. Should you wish to be considered to move hospitals to potentially receive earlier care/treatment, please submit your details via For those who do not have access to technology, please contact the NHS Telephone Support Line on 0345 450 6166. Upon receiving your request, your current hospital will review your case and the next step will be communicated to you.

Yours sincerely.

Please remember the NHS will never ask you for personal passwords, credit card or other bank details. If in doubt, please contact the national helpline on 0345 450 6166.

Can I claim, or will my travel costs be paid for, if I choose to be seen elsewhere?

If you are already eligible to claim through the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme, for example, if you are in receipt of income support, jobseeker’s allowance or pension credit, then you may able to claim for help with the costs of attending an alternative hospital for treatment. Full details of the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme can be found on the NHS website.

Some patients who need either physical or emotional help to travel will also be able to access Patient Transport Services (PTS) for help with getting to and from medical appointments. In order to be deemed ‘suitable’ for PTS, one or more of the following must apply:

  • Your medical condition requires the skills or support of PTS staff throughout your journey.
  • The condition of your health might suffer if you were to travel by other means.
  • Your medical condition affects your ability to access healthcare without PTS.

To find out if you are suitable for PTS, call 0300 330 2000 if you live in Hull, East Yorkshire or North Lincolnshire, where PTS is provided by Yorkshire Ambulance Service. If you live in North East Lincolnshire, call HT Group on 0808 164 3030. In both cases, you will be asked for appointment details and will need to answer a few questions to determine your suitability for non-emergency patient transport.

If you are not eligible for either PTS or the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme, then unfortunately, as per national policy, travel costs are not able to be paid or reimbursed. Please remember, if you choose to move your care to another hospital to benefit from shorter waiting times, all of your associated follow-up appointments must also take place at the new hospital. Please think carefully and remember to take the issue of travel and transport costs into consideration.

A full set of FAQs around travel costs and PTS is also available on our website.

Transport and Costs

What is the Patient Transport Service (PTS)?
The non-emergency Patient Transport Service (PTS) is available for suitable patients referred for consultations, treatment or procedures provided within the hospital or community setting. This would not normally include transport to services usually provided by your family doctor or dentist. The patient transport service is provided by Yorkshire Ambulance Service for patients in Hull, the East Riding of Yorkshire, and North Lincolnshire. More information is available on the YAS website, or you can read a patient information leaflet. For patients in North East Lincolnshire the patient transport service is provided by Health Transport Group, more information is available on their website.
What do we mean by "suitable patients"?

A patient is deemed to be suitable for PTS transport if:

  • their medical condition requires the skills or support of PTS staff throughout their journey
  • the condition of the patient’s health might suffer if they were to travel by other means
  • their medical condition affects their ability to access healthcare without PTS.
Best use of PTS

It is important that PTS is only used by people who need either physical or emotional help to travel.

When PTS is used by too many people, i.e. those who could get to their appointment in another way, it is difficult for the service to operate efficiently. It means that patients could arrive late for their appointments and may have to wait for longer than necessary to be collected and taken home.

We need to ensure that people who have no other safe way to get to their appointments arrive on time and without detriment to their health. To do this, we ask that all people who could travel by other means are encouraged and given the relevant information to do so.

Can I bring someone with me?

You may only bring someone with you on PTS transport in the following circumstances:

  • If you are a child (under 16 years old).
  • Where the person accompanying you has particular skills which you need; for example if you:
  • need constant attention throughout your journey
  • have severe communication difficulties
  • have problems with your sight, hearing or speech
  • have physical or mental health problems that prevent you from travelling alone
  • would be at risk or vulnerable if you travelled alone
  • need a translator
  • need a chaperone for cultural or religious reasons.
  • If you have a guide dog.
When you apply for PTS, you will need to let the call handler know that you require an escort at the same time.
What can I expect to happen when I apply for PTS?

If you think that you are suitable for PTS and you live in Hull, the East Riding or North Lincolnshire, you should call YAS on 0300 330 2000. If you live in North East Lincolnshire, call HT Group on 0808 164 3030. You can do this as soon as you receive your appointment and know you need transport.

When you call, the call handler will ask you a few questions to establish whether or not you are suitable for PTS transport. If you are suitable, the call handler will arrange this for you.

In certain cases someone may need to visit you to assess how to move you safely.

If you are considered suitable for PTS, your suitability will be reviewed each time you need transport. If your condition improves you may be informed that you are no longer suitable.

If you are not suitable for PTS, you will be advised of alternative support you could receive.

What should I do if I’m not suitable for PTS?

If you are not suitable for PTS you can do one of the following:

  • Travel via public transport.
  • For all bus enquiries telephone:
    • East Yorkshire Buses – 01482 222222
    • Stagecoach – 0345 605 0605
    • Bus Info – 01904 551400
    • Arriva – 0344 8004411
  • For all train enquires telephone: 0845 6769905.
  • Ask a friend or relative to take you.
  • Take a taxi – many taxi companies are now able to transport a wheelchair.
  • Enquire about local community transport
  • Contact your local council.

If you need help to pay for your travel, financial assistance may be available from the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme.

Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme

You may be able to claim through the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme if you’re referred for a consultation, treatment or procedure provided within a hospital or community setting. Again, this does not include transport to services normally provided by your family doctor or dentist.

You can claim travel costs if you or your partner receives:

  • Income support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit.
  • You can also claim if you are named on, or entitled to a NHS tax credit exemption certificate.

You may also qualify if you’re on a low income and receive one of the following:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit with the disability element or severe disability element.

In some hospitals you can claim your money back immediately when you show the following:

  • Proof of a qualifying benefit (like an award notice).
  • A tax credit exemption certificate (you’ll get this automatically if you qualify.)
  • A certificate showing you qualify for the NHS low income support scheme.
  • Evidence of the cost of your travel.