Patients travelling from an off-island to a mainland medical appointment will be able to reclaim the cost of the inter-island leg of their journey from the beginning of next month.
The changes come after Healthwatch made a case for funding as a result of hearing from some off-island residents.
The organisation said: "NHS Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has agreed that the cost of inter-island travel is covered by NHS funding for IOS medical travel under the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme. This scheme covers travel to the mainland, therefore the new off-island funding arrangements do not cover trips for appointments on St. Mary's."
Off-island patients should arrange and pay for their inter-island travel and then claim a repayment by requesting a reference code when they book their travel from St. Mary’s to the mainland. The code and receipt can then be submitted with a standard claim form to recoup the costs.
Patients travelling to and from the mainland over two or more days can be reimbursed for the cost of a scheduled boat fare only, whereas those returning the same day can be reimbursed for either a Scheduled boat fare or a special boat fare, dependent on the time of their travel.
Claims can be made up to three months after the date of travel, while repayment will be made by cheque and take up to six weeks.
Healthwatch said that anyone incurring costs for inter-island travel on their way to a mainland appointment during April can make a claim on the existing HC5(T) form under the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme.
It added: "We have pointed out some complications regarding boat and flight schedules, especially in winter, and have received assurances that the system will be kept under review. We will monitor progress of the scheme and welcome your feedback."