I would like to urge your readers and their patients, particularly those with cancer, to complete the online survey into the hospital travel costs scheme (HTCS), under which those on low incomes are able to claim expenses for travelling to treatment.
The DoH consultation aims to find how awareness of the HTCS can be raised among NHS staff and patients, and to work out how patients can claim expenses, bearing in mind that many receive their treatment away from the hospital.
Many cancer patients struggle to find the money to travel to and park at hospital; on average, patients make 53 trips, costing £325 in total, during the course of their treatment. However Macmillan’s ‘Cancer Costs’ report revealed that only 4 per cent of those facing travel costs received help and two thirds of those not getting help were unaware that the schemes even existed.
This survey is a vital opportunity for patients to make their voices heard and could spare future cancer patients the stress of trying to make ends meet.
Visit www.dh.gov.uk and click ‘policy and guidance’ then ‘policy A–Z’ then ‘H’ then select ‘hospital travel costs scheme’.
Professor Jessica Corner, director of improving cancer services, Macmillan Cancer Support, London