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.
To speak to a member of the Off-Island Treatment team, please call 01481 224153 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
The off-island referral process
- 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, you may be referred off-island for treatment by your consultant from the Medical Specialist Group (MSG), a Doctor from the Emergency Department or another clinician authorised to refer off-island by Health and Social Care (HSC).
- The Off-Island Services team at Health & Social Care need to authorise this treatment request. They will check that the referral complies with HSC's commissioning policies and then direct it to the correct partner Hospital in the UK. Unless referred as an emergency transfer from the Emergency Department, you will receive an email from the Off-Island Services Team detailing your next steps.
- In most cases HSC will know well in advance when your appointment will be and will contact you directly to book your travel. If you receive your appointment dates but have not heard from the HSC patient travel team, please call Off-Island Services and they will make sure that your travel is put in place.
Travel Arrangements and Travel Insurance
- It is strongly recommended that all travel is booked via the HSC patient travel team. This will enable you to get to your required appointment on time with the required flexibility and assurance should any plans change. Booking through the HSC patient travel team will also ensure that you are covered by the States of Guernsey Travel Insurance when off-island for medical treatment.
- In most cases, travel to the UK will be by air and by the most direct, suitable and accessible time to safely reach your appointment. Travel the night before may be booked if you have an early morning appointment the next day and there is no scheduled travel connection that enables you to make the appointment on time.
- The most appropriate return travel will be booked for you by the HSC patient travel team. Where a discharge date is not known, your return travel will be booked when the team is contacted by you or a hospital liaison officer to say you are fit for discharge.
- If you choose to extend your stay (travel sooner or return later), the patient travel team will book your travel as requested, but you will be expected to pay any difference if the fare is higher than it would have been if you had travelled directly. The States of Guernsey travel insurance will only cover you up to one day before and after your day of appointment/inpatient stay. Even with a reciprocal healthcare arrangement in place between Guernsey and the UK, you are strongly advised to make your own travel insurance arrangements for any additional time spent off-island as those tend to be more comprehensive than the reciprocal healthcare arrangement.
- If your stay needs to be extended unexpectedly for clinical reasons HSC will amend your bookings and cover the associated costs, and you will still be covered by the travel insurance.
- Transport once in the UK
- Once you have landed in the UK, you are entitled to transport to your appointment and back to the airport. If you are required to stay overnight in accommodation you are entitled to transport to your accommodation.
- In Southampton, radiotherapy patients are entitled to a daily return taxi between their accommodation and the hospital.
- Transport will generally be by taxi though patients outside of Southampton may be provided rail, underground and other public transport if appropriate. HSC will not fund any additional transport outside of the requirements for your treatment.
- When an overnight stay is required due to the appointment time or length of treatment, patients are expected to use one of HSC's preferred accommodation providers. The HSC patient travel team will also book this. Should you need to use other accommodation, you will be refunded up to an agreed amount (£110 for accommodation in central London, £85 elsewhere).
- In Southampton, our accommodation providers are DoubleTree by Hilton for hotel accommodation (generally for stays of 5 nights or less), Vittrum Self-catering apartments - Deanery Court (used for stays of 6 nights and longer). However, the HSC patient travel team will help determine which accommodation is most suitable to your needs.
- Outside of Southampton, HSC may fund the breakfast only if offered as part of your accommodation booking. The refund cap for accommodation applies to the total rate including breakfast.
- If you are staying in Vittrum accommodation in Southampton, you will be responsible to fund all of your meals.
- If you are staying in The DoubleTree by Hilton, then your meal allowance is:
- 1 night - no food allowance
- 2-5 nights - Breakfast included
- 6+ nights - Breakfast + £18 in-hotel spend towards a main meal
- You may choose an evening meal that exceeds this limit; however you must pay the difference in full upon checkout.
- If you have any specific dietary requirements, please ensure that you advise the hotel accordingly.
- In certain circumstances, HSC will meet the travel costs (i.e. flight, public transport or, if
- appropriate, taxi or hire car) of a non-medical escort (generally a friend or relative of the patient).
- This will apply on the following basis only:
- when there is a clinically assessed need for the patient to be accompanied
- when the patient is over 6 years old and under 18
- when the patient is under 6 years old, they are entitled to two escorts
- when the patient is 18 and older, non-medical escorts can be provided under the Travelling Expenses Assistance Scheme only.
- The escort needs to be fit and able to assist the patient so they can travel safely.
- The HSC patient travel team will book the escort's flight at the same time as making the booking for the patient.
- If you feel you want a travel companion but do not meet these criteria you will need to fund this yourself, but the HSC patient travel team can book on your behalf and take payment by phone. It may be possible to get financial assistance from relevant charities.
- HCS does not fund food or accommodation costs for escorts.
- Patients receiving long-term treatment
- If you need to receive treatment in a UK hospital for more than five weeks, then either an additional return flight (and associated travel costs) will be covered by HSC for the patient to return to Guernsey, or, alternatively, for a friend/relative to visit the patient in the UK.
Travelling Expenses Assistance Scheme (TEAS)
- If you are facing financial hardship, HSC's Travelling Expenses Assistance Scheme (TEAS) may be able to assist with additional travel costs incurred when travelling for off-island medical appointments. TEAS is a means-tested provision 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 or other travel related costs that cannot be covered by other means.
- If you need a copy of the means test form or need further information, please call the HSC patient travel team on 222510.
- The Channel Island Liaison Team based at Southampton Hospital works closely with Guernsey patients during their hospitalisation. The Channel Island Liaison Team can be contacted on Tel: 02381 204515.
- Outside normal working hours, patients should contact the Out of Hours team through the Southampton Hospital Switchboard on 02380 777 222
Useful HSC and Travel Contact Details
Useful Accommodation and Hospital Contact Details
Cancer Relief - Funding help
Financial support for Cancer patients
Cancer Relief - Travel Help
Travel help and support for cancer patients
Channel Island Liaison Team (Southampton)
UHS support for Channel Island Patients
Charity supporting patients needing off-island treatment
023 8212 4549
Support for Cancer patients in Southampton
Priaulx Premature Baby Foundation
Support and accommodation for family of premature babies
Charity assisting with medical and medically related expenses
Support and accommodation for cardiac patients and their families
Travelling by emergency charter (air ambulance)
- If you are too unwell to travel on a scheduled flight or your treatment cannot wait until the next scheduled service is available, the medical practitioner looking after you may recommend an emergency air charter. This will be arranged for you. Please note all patients, and any companion, who are travelling off-island require photographic ID (passport/driver's license). A companion may travel with the patient at the treating clinician's discretion. The companion is advised to have travel health insurance and will need to fund their own travel back home.
- If you are a private patient, you will be responsible for the costs of all associated consultations, treatment and care. However, HSC may be able to contribute towards your travel costs if the treatment has been recommended by a medical practitioner and is not available locally.
- HSC will not pay the costs of any accommodation or meals for private patients. It is recommended that you check with your insurance company to gain assurance that they will cover your accommodation costs whilst off-island.