Covid-19 Coronavirus

Patient transfers

Patient Transfers Update - 30 April 2021

Facilities at Liverpool Airport

Now that restrictions are easing in the UK, we no longer have access to the XLR lounge. However, Liverpool Airport has arranged for a seating area in the main terminal and drinks (tea, coffee, water etc.) and snacks (chocolates and crisps) will be available from the vending machines there. Passengers will be able to transfer through security and access the Patient Lounge from 2 hours before their flight departure time. Please be advised that the main terminal can be cold so warm attire is recommended, particularly for those who may have a lengthy wait between check in and boarding for the flight.

Any patient who has an early morning appointment and is concerned about the length of time they may have to wait at Liverpool Airport before they can proceed through security, for example due to their medical condition, should contact the Patient Transfer Office to discuss their options.

COVID-19 Vaccinations for Patient Transfers

Those patients travelling to the UK may be referred for the COVID-19 vaccine if clinically appropriate and they have not already received the vaccine. If you will be travelling to the UK for a healthcare appointment, and you do not already qualify to receive the vaccine on age or other grounds, please ask a doctor who is involved in your care (this can be your GP or a consultant at Noble’s Hospital or in the UK) to advise if you should have the vaccine and email a copy of this to the Patient Transfer Office. After checking the paperwork, the Patient Transfer Office will inform 111 and they will contact you to book an appointment for you to receive the vaccine. 

Isolation on return to the Island

The Island is now at Level 3 in its border framework. From 00.01 on Saturday May 1, if you have made a journey to the UK for a medical appointment, you will be required to self-isolate for a minimum of 7 days on return to the Island and adhere to the new COVID-19 testing regime on day 1 and day 6. Patients are asked to telephone 111 on return to the Island to book the tests, which are free of charge to patient transfers. Testing will be undertaken at the Grandstand Testing Centre and if you are not symptomatic, you are permitted to take a taxi to the testing centre if you are unable to drive. If you do not have these tests, you will be required to self-isolate for a total period of 21 days following your return to the Island.

Please continually check the COVID-19 website for the latest information and updates. Please inform the 111 team when booking these tests that you have been to the UK for medical treatment (whether as an NHS or a private patient) and you will not be charged the fee for the tests.

You must isolate on your return to the Island either in a shared household or alone. Please note that if you choose to isolate in a shared household then the other members of the household will have to isolate with you, although they do not require the Covid tests. Please contact and speak to a member of the Patient Transfer Office in the first instance if you have any concerns regarding ongoing clinical needs following treatment and your return to the Island.  Please adhere to the isolation direction notice issued to you.

The Cabinet Office £250 per person per week for on-Island accommodation support will continue for patients who require separate accommodation on their return to the Island only if you stay in premises which have registered for the scheme with DfE. Support will be restricted to a total of £250 for one week’s accommodation unless you have a medical reason for not being tested or you test positive and thus are required to stay in the accommodation longer than 1 week. If you require accommodation support on your return to the Island please contact the Patient Transfer Office in the first instance to discuss your circumstances.

Travelling to and from your appointment in the UK

You should familiarise yourself with guidance issued by England so you are aware of what you can and cannot do. This guidance can change quickly and you are advised to check the situation before you leave the Island and particularly while you are in England. Current advice of what you can and cannot do is available at Gov.uk's National Lockdown Stay at Home page.

You should take the utmost precaution to protect yourself and others from the virus if visiting the UK, including:

  • travelling directly to and from the appointment
  • don't make any detours or spend time in crowded areas
  • wear a facemask at all times unless eating or drinking
  • practice social distancing by maintaining a distance of at least 2 metres from other persons wherever possible on the journey

General guidance on social distancing and self-isolation for patients visiting the UK, including links to useful information, is provided below.

The Isle of Man is at Level 3 of the Isle of Man borders framework. Please check the Isle of Man dedicated COVID-19 website regularly for the latest information on self-isolation requirements following travel to the UK. 

All patient journeys to the UK are individually assessed and, if necessary, approved by Manx Care before a travel warrant is issued. The assessment process will commence automatically after you contact the Patient Transfer Office to book your travel. Please ensure that you contact the Patient Transfer Office as soon as you receive your appointment so that that there is plenty of time to ensure that all necessary arrangements may be made to ensure a safe journey to and from your appointment.

If you are travelling for a Manx Care funded medical appointment in the UK, you should ensure that you carry your patient transfer travel warrant issued to you by the Patient Transfer Office, together with your photographic ID, when travelling as you will be required to produce this documentation on re-entry into the Isle of Man. All persons will be required to undertake mandatory self-isolation upon return to the Isle of Man. This will be stipulated in the Directions Notice issued to you when you return to the Island and it is a criminal offence if this is not adhered to under COVID-19 Regulations.

Funded escorts 

Please note that individual further assessment for a funded escort will still be required and should not be assumed to be guaranteed. Escort assessment will continue to take place on a per journey basis and will be individually assessed by the independent nurse assessment team. Please contact the Patient Transfer Office using the contact details on this page and they will arrange for you to be assessed for escort purposes if required and will make the necessary travel arrangements. 

Guidance for travelling in the UK

Face coverings

Face coverings must be worn in taxis (including private hire vehicle) and on public transport when visiting England. The covering need not be a surgical grade mask, but can be a scarf or some other type of homemade covering. Failure to wear a covering on public transport (including on a ferry, plane, bus or train) is currently an offence in England and may lead to you being denied boarding. Please check the UK guidance regularly for when to wear a face mask while in the UK.

Social distancing and safer travel guidance

Please check the UK guidance regularly for social distancing requirements when travelling in the UK.

Travel from the airport/sea terminal following UK travel

Arriving to the Isle of Man

Please note that you cannot use public transport on arrival to the Island. However, if you are eligible for transport funded by Manx Care you may still use Bus Vannin transport which has been pre-booked by the Patient Transfer Office. If you have keys to a vehicle with you may have the vehicle dropped to a designated area of the airport or sea terminal. Also, if you are going to be in shared accommodation then one of the other members of the household may pick you up as they will then be isolating with you.

Taxis are able to pick up fares that are arrivals on Island at either the airport or sea terminal so long as the following guidance is adhered to: 

  • Pre-bookings only to record contact details and confirm passenger(s) are symptom free
  • Passenger meets taxi in designated parking area – not in arrivals hall.  Whilst outside the taxi, social distancing of 2m to be observed with avoidance of direct face to face contact
  • Passenger should continue to wear face covering (which they will have had to wear in transit – plane/boat). Covering should continue to be worn until they are in the accommodation in which they will self-isolate.
  • If single passenger, they should sit diagonally behind driver.  Where possible vehicle windows should be open for air circulation
  • After passenger has left, drivers should sanitise seats and high touch surfaces before next fare

Please continue to check the latest advice on the Isle of Man dedicated COVID-19 website.

If you are not eligible for Manx Care funded transport and you have concerns about your ability to get home, please contact the Patient Transfer Office for advice.

Contact details and opening times

Email: patient.transfers@gov.im

Address: Patient Transfer Office, Crookall House, Demesne Road, Douglas, IM1 3QA

Telephone Numbers: 

For transport to or from an appointment in the UK, please telephone +44 1624 642673

(Open 9am to 5pm Mon to Fri [excluding Public Holidays]. Closed for lunch 1 to 2pm. If you require urgent assistance outside of the normal Patient Transfer operating hours, please contact the Air Ambulance Service Co-ordinator on +44 1624 650000)

For transport to or from an appointment in the Isle of Man, phone Bus Vannin on +44 1624 642666

(Open 8.30am to 4.30pm Mon to Fri [excluding Public Holidays]. Closed for lunch 12 to 1pm)

Transport for Appointments within the Isle of Man

Bus Vannin now provides the service for persons requiring transport to or from a healthcare facility in the Island, and Bus Vannin has assumed responsibility for taking bookings for this service.

This service may only be booked if authorised by the Department. Patients should ask a health care professional (i.e. a Doctor or Nurse involved in their care) to make the booking if this service is required.

Patient Transfers to the UK

With the development of new, specialised techniques in the treatment of cancer, burns, transplants and many other fields, the number of patients being referred to UK hospitals has grown considerably in recent years.

Manx Care has arrangements with hospitals in the UK to provide specialised treatments that are not available here in the Island. These hospitals are predominantly within the North West of England and agreements are in place to treat Manx patients when referred by Noble's Hospital Consultants. If such a referral is made, patients will need to travel to the UK. The Patient Transfer Team books air/sea travel in these cases and provides advice to patients about their journey. Please see the section “Travel and Accommodation Costs for Patients and Escorts Visiting the UK” below for information about the criteria for funded escorts and rates of assistance.

Referrals to UK hospitals

Your consultant, after discussing your treatment with you, may decide to refer you to a UK hospital for specialist NHS treatment. The consultant will then contact the hospital and the hospital will, in due course, contact you with an appointment time or date of admission. At the same time, your consultant will send a transport certificate to the Patient Transfers Team. The certificate will contain details of your referral, including any special arrangements required, such as the need for an escort. You will receive a tear-off page from the certificate, which will advise you of the relevant contact details.

When you have received notification of your appointment time and date of admission from the UK hospital, you should contact the Patient Transfers Office to book your journey. We will need a copy of your appointment letter before we can book any travel.

Expenses for NHS patients and companions only

The Patient Transfer Office is based at Crookall House.It exists to provide travel and accommodation for NHS patients referred to the UK by Noble's Hospital. We cannot arrange or fund journeys in any other circumstances (i.e. we cannot book or fund travel or associated costs for any patient unless the journey is necessary to attend the UK for an appointment which is the result of an NHS referral by Noble's Hospital).

Authorised escorts accompanying patients to the UK

Occasionally, a consultant may authorise a family member or friend to accompany the patient, in which case the Patient Transfer Office will fund that additional person's travel. We can only book these persons through the Patient Transfer Office if we have received a Transport Certificate completed by an authorised member of staff (normally a consultant at Noble's Hospital) and an escort is recommended for funding on that certificate.

Travel and Accommodation Costs for Patients and Escorts Visiting the UK

Copy of an expenses claim form

Travel between home and the airport/sea terminal

Patients visiting the UK are expected to make their own travel arrangements between home and the airport or sea terminal. However, the NHS (Expenses in Attending Hospitals) Regulations 2004 do provide discretion for us to fund transport in a limited number of cases. A person meeting the criteria for assistance may apply for the on-Island component of their travel.  We will only fund the lowest cost method of transport reasonable for the journey, and this will normally be provided by Bus Vannin. Only in exceptional cases would we consider paying for other means of transport such as a taxi or your car parking fees at the airport. Please enquire about options when booking your trip if you are eligible for funded on-Island transport and there is a medical or other reason that you cannot use the Bus Vannin service.

Travel between the Isle of Man and the UK

Manx Care currently has agreements with Loganair for flights and the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company for sea travel between the Isle of Man and the UK. The Patient Transfer Office will book air or sea travel with one of these carriers for journeys between the IOM and the UK for patients and escorts authorised by Manx Care to travel to the UK. We may only fund a journey starting and finishing in the Isle of Man and which is necessary for the patient to receive their care in the UK.

For example, if a patient has an outpatient appointment in Liverpool then they will normally be booked on a day return on the day of the appointment and this will only be changed on the basis of medical need. We cannot book or alter journey times to accommodate other activities that the patient or escort may wish to undertake whilst in the UK. Also, we cannot book or fund travel or other costs for a patient travelling from elsewhere (e.g. returning from holiday) to attend an appointment, or for escorts or visitors travelling from anywhere other than the Isle of Man. In these cases, patients and escorts will need to book and fund their own travel and accommodation.

Travel whilst in the UK

Manx Care currently has a contract with the taxi firm Combabs for travel within Liverpool. If your appointment is in Liverpool, we will book a Comcabs taxi to take you between the airport/ferry terminal and the healthcare facility and accommodation and healthcare facility as appropriate and required. Outside Liverpool, we will reimburse reasonable expenses between the UK airport and healthcare facility. You will need to book your own travel and submit a claim, together with receipts, to the Patient Transfer Office when you return home.

Accommodation whilst in the UK

Financial assistance may be provided towards the cost of any accommodation that may be required as part of the visit to the UK. If you are staying in any area of the UK outside London, Manx Care may contribute up to £50 per person per night towards the cost of your accommodation and, within London, up to £74 per person per night. You will need prior authorisation for hotel accommodation from the Patient Transfer Team when booking your journey to the UK. If this authorisation is given, you will need to book your own accommodation and submit a claim, together with receipts, to the Patient Transfer Office when you return home. Please note that we may only contribute towards accommodation costs actually incurred and on production of an official receipt. We do not, for example, make a contribution if you are staying in a property you own in the UK or you are staying with friends, relatives, acquaintances, etc.

Type of accommodation we may fund

Short stays

If you need to stay in the UK for a short period (certainly under a week) it may be assumed necessary for you to book into a hotel or guest house and so we may pay up to £50 per person per night (£74 if in London) on production of receipts.

Longer stays

For longer stays it usually will not be necessary to stay in a hotel. In these cases, we would normally price up a suitable apartment and offer this amount as a contribution toward your accommodation costs. As stated above, we may only pay this amount on production of a valid receipt. We cannot make any contribution towards a stay with friends, relatives etc.

Please note that we may only pay towards the cost of the accommodation. We cannot pay towards the cost of food, toiletries or any other purchases you may make.

Patients in the UK for extended periods

If a patient has to spend an extended period in the UK, but is fit to travel and wishes to visit home in between treatment, then we would normally fund at least one return visit to the Island after each 2 weeks that the person remains a patient in the UK.

Alternatively, if the patient would otherwise be alone for an extended period in the UK (e.g. because they are not accompanied by a companion funded by the Patient Transfer Office and they cannot for any reason return home to the Island for a visit), then we would normally fund at least one visit to the UK by a friend or relative after each 2 weeks that the person remains a patient in the UK. Funding for each such trip will normally be for one return journey plus payment of the contribution towards actual accommodation costs for up to 3 nights per visit.

The above are general guidelines, and the actual frequency of visits funded by the Patient Transfer Office will always be based on whatever is reasonable in the circumstances. For example, if a patient is undergoing a course of radiotherapy in the UK, then the Department would fund a visit home each weekend if the patient requests this. You should ask the Patient Transfer Office for advice about visits home, or for someone to visit you in the UK, if you envisage a stay of two weeks or more in the UK for medical care.

Port Security Awareness Information

Patients travelling off-Island will, of course, be subject to port security, and those with certain medical conditions or disabilities may wish to be dealt with in a more discreet manner. Whilst security staff are under a legal obligation to satisfy themselves that no passenger is carrying a prohibited article or substance, reasonable adjustments to the security process may be made if requested, including, for example,  having a search conducted in private. Please see a copy of the security awareness notes issues by the Isle of Man Airport.

If you have any queries, please contact the Patient Transfers Team.

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