Decision to axe cancer travel grant already taken

Although it has yet to be officially ratified, Isle of Wight Council officers have claimed that the decision to axe travel grants to the mainland for cancer and renal patients has already been taken.

The travel grant provides support for those travelling to the mainland for chemotherapy, radiotherapy or dialysis.

Chief executive, John Metcalfe, reminded councillors they had already voted on this decision a year ago, during a debate on the £60,000 cross-Solent travel scheme.

Director of adult social care, Carol Tozer, said: “This £60,000 is really limited, not only in terms of the actual amount. Some estimated 30,000 patients make trips to the mainland, this covers a mere fraction. It’s very limited in terms of what it will cover: chemotherapy, radiotherapy, renal therapy.

A lady I got to know suffered cancer and her treatment wasn’t chemotherapy or radiotherapy — it was immunotherapy, which this policy does not cover.”

Cllr Michael Lilley attempted to propose the cabinet be asked to find the money in this year’s budget for the cross-Solent travel scheme, but no other member backed his proposal.