If the specialist care you need is not available in Guernsey or Alderney you may be referred off-island.
If this is the case, your local consultant will make a request for you to be seen at a hospital or treatment centre in Jersey or the UK. The information on this page will help you to understand how this process works and answer some of your questions.
The process for travelling off-island for complex care, (care which covers mental health, learning disability, gender dysphoria and looked after children) is not covered by this section as this process varies by individual.
Who decides what treatment I need?
- Your consultant will discuss options with you and decide the most suitable plan for your condition. If suitable options or further advice is not available in Guernsey or Alderney, a request will be made for you to be seen elsewhere.
- The Off-Island Services team at Health & Social Care need to authorise this treatment request.
Who decides where I go?
- The States of Guernsey has service agreements with various NHS hospitals in the UK. If you need to attend an appointment off-island you will be referred to one of these hospitals. The hospital you are referred to depends on the type of specialist input you need.
- The main hospitals we use are:
- Southampton University Hospital - Cancer treatment plus majority of other specialties.
- Guys and St Thomas Hospital - Renal
- Royal Devon and Exeter - Orthopaedic surgery
- Salisbury Hospital - Burns- reconstructive plastic surgery, cleft lip & palate
The referral process
- If you need to attend an appointment off-island, the following teams will normally be involved in the process:-
- Medical Specialist Group - who will recommend the type of specialist input you need;
- Off-Island Services team (part of Health & Social Care) - who will need to approve funding for the recommended treatment;
- Health Benefit team (part of Social Security) - who will fund and make the necessary travel arrangements to get you to and from your appointment.
- If your local consultant refers you for treatment off-island, this referral will be sent to the Off-Island Services Team at Health & Social Care. The team will check the referral to make sure:-
- the specialist input being recommended is not available locally;
- this type of treatment is normally funded;
- you are being referred to a preferred provider hospital
- If the referral is authorised it will be sent to the relevant UK hospital, who will make an appointment for you. The hospital will send you the appointment letter directly. Please be aware that this may take several weeks to arrive.
- When you receive your hospital appointment letter you should contact your local consultant's secretary and provide them with the details of your appointment. This should include the date and time of your appointment. The Medical Specialist Group will then create a request for the Travel Allowance Grant and send this to the Off-Island Services Team and the Health Benefit team at Social Security.
The Travelling Allowance Grant
- The travelling allowance grant is provided through Social Security. This grant is available to help with travel costs if you need to go off-island for treatment which is not available in the Bailiwick of Guernsey.
- If medical treatment is available locally or the treatment is not supported, then medical travel cannot be funded.
- For patients under 18, Social Security can pay for 1 adult to accompany a child to a medical appointment, 2 escorts can be funded for patients under the age of 6
- For further information, please call the helpline on 732510
Travelling Expenses Assistance Scheme
- If you are facing financial hardship, Social Security's Travelling Expenses Assistance Scheme (TEAS) may be able to assist with additional travel costs incurred when travelling for NHS medical appointments. TEAS is a mean-tested benefit that is assessed on a case-by-case basis depending on your incomings, outgoing and savings.
- TEAS may be able to assist you with travel expenses of a non-medical escort authorised by your doctor or specialist in order to assist you from/ to your medical appointment in Jersey or the UK or for necessary accommodation costs that cannot be covered by other means.
- If you are travelling as a private patient or do not wish to apply for TEAS then you will need to fund the cost of travel for your escort or accommodation yourself.
- If you need a copy of the means test form or need further information please please call the helpline on 732510.
Booking your travel
- You don't need to make a separate claim for the travelling allowance grant.
- When you receive your hospital appointment letter you should contact your local consultant's secretary and provide them with the details of your appointment. This should include the date and time of your appointment. Please make sure they also have your up-to-date contact details.
- The Medical Specialist Group will then create a request for the Travel Allowance Grant and send this to the Off-Island Services team and the Health Benefit team at Social Security
- When the Health Benefit team has been notified of your medical appointment they will make contact with you. This will be by phone, letter or email.
- The Health Benefit team will discuss your needs and book the necessary travel. Please allow up to 5 working days for this to happen. If you need to contact the team sooner, please phone 732402 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- If you live in Alderney and are referred for medical treatment in Guernsey, you will need to take your hospital appointment letter to the Alderney States Office. The States Office will then arrange your travel with you or refer you to the Health Benefit team at Social Security
- Our 'Information about your Travel documents' are available to download from this page and include useful information and contact numbers relating to your off-island travel for medical treatment
Do I need to take out travel insurance?
- As a patient you will be covered for any unexpected medical treatment you may need while you are travelling. This includes travel the day before and day after your appointment. But, you will need to arrange your own insurance if you choose to travel earlier or stay later than this.
- If anyone else is travelling with you to attend your appointment, they will not be covered by this insurance and will need to obtain the own insurance cover. If an escort chooses to travel without insurance cover, they will be liable for any costs incurred in relation to unexpected medical treatment required during travel to the UK.
Travelling By Emergency Charter
- If you are too unwell to travel on a scheduled flight the medical practitioner looking after you may recommend an emergency air charter. This will be arranged for you. Any person who accompanies you is advised to have travel health insurance and will need to fund their own travel back home.
- If you are going to be admitted to hospital and need to be there early in the morning, Health and Social Care will authorise the cost of overnight accommodation pre admission, or in the case of Southampton, accommodation will be booked for you at Jury's Inn.
- Accommodation in Southampton:
- When you are being discharged from the University Hospital, Southampton, if you are fit for discharge but not fit to fly, the Channel Island Liaison Team will arrange for you to stay at Jurys Inn prior to travelling home.
- If you are deemed unfit to fly but fit to travel, you will need to book the next available ferry home. If accommodation is required whilst waiting for the next available boat this can be booked through the Liaison Team if you are at University Hospital Southampton or by the patient if you have received treatment at another provider. If you do not wish to travel by ferry, then you will need to fund your own additional nights' accommodation until you are deemed fit to fly.
- All rooms at Jury's Inn, Southampton are double rooms so can accommodate two people. If you are receiving radiotherapy treatment, your breakfast and evening meals are paid for. There is no extra charge for the second person, but if you are accompanied by your husband, wife or partner, then they will have to pay for their meals and transport costs. Also, if your husband, wife or partner is intending to remain at the hotel whilst you remain in hospital, then this cost will need to be funded by them as the guest. Health and Social Care only pays accommodation costs when the patient requires accommodation.
- Alternative accommodation for family members or friends of specific patient groups needing treatment at University Hospital Southampton is available as follows:
- Ronald MacDonald House - provides free 'home from home' accommodation for families with children in hospital.
- Meller House - Meller House provides comfortable and friendly accommodation solely for the relatives of patients who would like to stay closer to the hospital in order to avoid long journeys.
- Heartbeat House - offers free accommodation to family and friends for patients who are admitted to the Wessex Cardiac Centre at university Hospital Southampton.
- Priaulx Premature Baby Foundation - The Burrow. Or you can contact via email, Ali@ppbf.org.gg or Tel: 07781 160080.
- If you are not staying at the Jurys Inn Hotel Southampton, then you must book your own accommodation and send your receipts to the Off-Island Service Team at Health & Social Care for refunding. Accommodation will only be refunded where required as outlined above. We do not refund accommodation to patients who may choose to travel earlier in the event of avoiding potential bad weather.
- Accommodation for other hospitals:
- Sometimes you will need treatment at a hospital where we do not have an arrangement with a local hotel. These hospitals have their own accommodation or local hotels with which they have arrangements. Please follow the links below:
- Hotel accommodation costs are limited to £110 per night for accommodation in London and £82 per night for accommodation elsewhere in the UK. You will be refunded the amount you have paid for your accommodation. HSC does not refund food costs.
- All receipts should be sent to the Off-Island Service Team where they are checked and processed for payment - Off-Island Services Team, Le Vauquiedor Office, Health and Social Care, Rue Mignot, St Andrews, Guernsey, GY6 8TW.
- If you are unsure about what you are entitled to or have any questions, please contact a member of the Off-Island Services Team on 725241 ext 4711.
Transport within the UK
- When you travel to Southampton, a minibus shuttle service is provided by Handicabs. The driver will wait in the arrival hall at the airport, please look out for the Handicabs sign.
- Handicabs will take you from the airport to University Hospital Southampton and back, but you will need to make arrangements for your return journey by contacting Handicabs on 02380 615222.
- The available return shuttle times are: - 13.00, 15.30, 18.00
- If you're travelling with hold luggage please inform Social Security at time of booking
- Social Security will only pay for a return journey to the hospital.
- Please let Social Security know if anyone is travelling with you. This is to ensure a place on the minibus. Handicabs will charge you for any unknown extra passengers.
- Radiotherapy Patients:
- Door 2 Door taxis currently provide transfers between Jury's Inn and Southampton General Hospital for people undergoing radiotherapy treatment. These taxis are arranged by the team at Southampton Radiotherapy Team
- For any other general transport in Southampton, you will need to book and pay for this yourself. At Southampton you can book taxis through reception at Jurys Inn or by using the free telephone situation on the wall next to Marks & Spencers at Southampton University Hospital.
- There is a regular bus service between the hospital and Jurys Inn. The No. 17 bus can be caught from Brunswick Place, Southampton City Center, Art Gallery on Commercial Road to University Hospital Southampton. Please check the journey and route using the website below - My Journey.
- If you are attending one of the other hospitals, the hospital website will guide you to accommodation in the area which does not require a taxi service, but if you would like to double check if you are able to claim, please call the Off-Island team on 725241 ext. 4711.
- A rail ticket (or e-ticket) will be provided, this will take you from the airport to a rail or underground station close to the hospital you are attending.
- If taxi travel from the nearest rail station to the hospital is required for medical reasons it must be supported by your Guernsey specialist. You should then take a taxi from the rail station in London to the hospital and ask for a receipt. A refund can be claimed from Social Security on your return, but only if you provide the receipt.
- Bus fares will be refunded by Social Security if you submit your receipts or used bus tickets.
- Other Destinations
- Transport will be authorised depending on your destination. If you require further information please call 01481 732402.
- Our 'Information about your Travel' documents are available to download from this page and include useful information and contact numbers relating to you off-island travel for medical treatment.
- If you're a private patient, you will be responsible for the costs of all associated consultations, treatment and care. However, Social Security may be able to make a contribution towards your travel costs if the treatment has been recommended by a medical practitioner and is not available locally.
- Health and Social Care will not pay the costs of any accommodation for private patients. It is recommended that you check with your insurance company to gain assurance that they will pick up the costs of accommodation.