Council Expresses Frustration Over NHS Travel Warrants

Royal Cornwall Hospital at Treliske. Photo Copyright Tony Atkin

The Council says the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust still hasn’t responded to its objection to a proposed new reimbursement system for patients travelling to the mainland for treatment.

In October, NHS bosses proposed changing the current travel warrant system to make patients pay transport costs up-front and claim the money back later.

Residents who have to travel to Cornwall for tests or treatments currently pay £5 for their flight and take hospital papers to the travel companies to complete the booking.

The NHS claims it was bringing Scilly into line with national policy, but our Council rejected the proposal in a meeting on 24th October with RCHT Patient Facilities Manager, Judith Rowe, saying the travel situation in Scilly was very different from the mainland and the change could create serious hardship for patients.

Many residents also expressed their concern in a separate public meeting on the same day.

But at last week’s Full Council meeting, Councillor Dudley Mumford said they have tried several times to contact RCHT about an alternative scheme but have not heard anything back.

He said the Council should “reaffirm the concerns of the community” about the proposed changes to RCHT and asked Councillors to approve a statement rejecting the proposals “in the strongest terms, considering them to jeopardise seriously the health and wellbeing of the island’s population without any clear enumeration of the potential financial savings to the NHS.”

Councillor David Pearson said the NHS was in a “state of flux” and he expressed concern that patients needing multiple trips to the mainland could run up debts of thousands of pounds.

Chairman Mike Hicks was emphatic that the status quo must remain, adding the changes “could seriously affect health provision on the islands.”

He said he was determined to “fight the Islands’ corner” on this.

We contacted RCHT but they declined to comment.


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