When you are in hospital
When you arrive at the hospital, find out and write down the following information. You may wish to keep the information yourself or pass it on to friends and family.
• Which ward will you be on?
• What is the telephone number of the ward?
• Who is your consultant?
• What is your consultant’s diagnosis of your condition?
• Who is your Named Nurse?
• On what date were you admitted?
• What is your expected date of discharge?
• Who is your Hospital Social Worker/Care Manager and how can they be contacted?
You should be able to find out this information from your Named Nurse on the ward, as this person is responsible for your care.
Will your relatives be able to visit?
Be sure to inform relatives of the correct visiting times whilst you are in hospital. Some hospital wards may restrict the number of visitors to a patient at busy times. Your spouse or partner may also have unrestricted visiting rights depending on your condition or the ward you are in.
If you receive Income Support or Pension Credit Guarantee, Income based Jobseeker’s Allowance or if you are named on Tax Credit NHS Exemption Certificate you are entitled to help with the cost of your fares or petrol when you go into hospital and when you come out. You may also be entitled to help with these costs when you go to and from hospital as an out-patient for NHS treatment. Your next of kin may also be able to get help with travelling costs to visit you.
Sometimes when carers are visiting the person they care for in hospital the carer is entitled to special parking concessions in the hospital car park. Ask the Matron or Senior Nurse on duty about this when you next visit.
How do I make a low income claim?
The NHS Low Income Scheme (LIS) may be able to assist you with NHS costs. The scheme covers:
• Prescription costs
• Dental costs
• Eye care costs
• Healthcare travel costs
• Wigs and fabric supports
You can apply for the scheme if your income, savings, investments or property (not including your home) do not exceed the qualifying capital limit of £16,000 or £23,500 if you live permanently in a care home.
Depending on your circumstances, you can receive “full help” (HC2 certificate) or “partial help” (HC3 certificate). You will qualify for full help if your income is less than or equal to the limit above or only exceeds these limits by no more than half the current prescription charge. If your income exceeds these limits, you may be entitled to partial help.
The rules governing who is eligible are broadly the same as those for Income Support. However, the assessment also takes into account council tax and housing costs, so you may also get help even though you don’t qualify for Income Support.
You don’t need to apply if you or your partner:
• Get Income Support
• Get income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
• Get income-related Employment and Support Allowance
• Get Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
• Are named on or entitled to an NHS Tax Credit Exemption Certificate
as these benefits will already entitle you to help with NHS costs.
To apply for an HC2 or HC3 certificate you will need to complete an HC1 form and send it off in the envelope provided. You can obtain an HC1 form from Job Centre Plus offices, hospitals, your GP surgery, your optician or dentist. You can also make a claim and find further information by contacting 0345 850 1166 to speak to an adviser who can help you complete the form, send it to you to sign and return in the envelope provided. Information and online forms are also available at www.nhs.uk/nhsengland/healthcosts . Certificates are valid for between six months and five years, depending on your circumstances.