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Return transport now funded after medivac

Healthwatch Isles of Scilly has revealed that return travel after a medical evacuation will now be funded.

The news was confirmed at yesterday's Medical Travel and Transport Group meeting.

It followed a Facebook post by an islander who found she had to pay for her own return transport after being flown out by air ambulance the previous night.

Tracy Leahy Smith wrote on Monday: "WARNING: If you are medi-vacced out of Scilly and go to the Emergency Department, Treliske and then you are discharged, patient transport WILL NOT book your flight back, you have to pay for your own way home!"

Healthwatch manager Carol Clarke responded at the time: "This matter has been raised by Healthwatch, but at the moment NHS Kernow is clear that patients are not eligible for funded return transport after a medevacuation. We have referred this to the IOS Scrutiny Committee."

However, in an update posted online yesterday (Tuesday), she wrote: "Return after a medical emergency evacuation: funded travel had been withdrawn for patients discharged directly from the Emergency Department or urgent treatment centre.

"At the Medical Travel and Transport Group meeting today it was confirmed that as of today, return travel after a medical evacuation WILL be funded. The £5 booking fee applies.

"These arrangements will remain in place while further consideration is given to the issue and a final policy is developed."

She added: "NHS Kernow had previously agreed that travel to urgent treatment (where patients can use a scheduled flight) will be funded. The £5 booking fee applies.

"Anyone who travels on a scheduled flight for urgent treatment must be referred by a Health Care Professional, who must make the booking with the Patient Transport service in order to provide authorisation.

"For anyone who is discharged after a medical evacuation, the ward or discharging centre will need to contact the Patient Transport Service in order to provide authorisation.

"The recent Policy for Non-Emergency Patient Transport has been revised. Now escorts for 20 week antenatal scans and some '2 week wait' appointments, where a diagnosis will be discussed, are eligible for NHS funding."

>> Islands affected by new NHS transport policy

>> Healthwatch updates on patient transport policy


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