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Travel expenses information needed


27 June, 2008  

The UK government is looking into how patients could be kept better informed about how to recover travel costs for hospital treatment.

A new system was launched earlier this year, but a survey by Macmillan Cancer Support found that only 19% of patients were aware of the previous scheme, ministers were told.

Crossbencher Lord Lewis of Newnham, speaking during a Lords debate, pointed to the “dramatic impact” that hospital travel expenses can have on people’s finances.

Baroness Thornton for the government said: “The take-up of the old scheme was not as good as it should have been so people who needed, and were entitled to, help were not receiving it. We have redoubled our efforts to promote this scheme right across the piece.”

Tory health spokesman Earl Howe said: “For many people who travel a lot to hospitals for cancer treatment the cost of doing so can amount to several hundred pounds out of their pockets if they are not part of this scheme.

He asked whether there was any way that commissioning processes could be used to boost and promote the scheme to patients from the outset. Baroness Thornton said it was an “extremely sensible” idea and she would look into it.

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Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme