Free cross-Solent travel for cancer patients could be cut

A council funded scheme that gives free cross-Solent travel to NHS patients with specific illnesses is being reviewed and Islanders can give their views on its future.

The Cross Solent Travel Scheme is a discretionary, non-means tested measure providing financial support to NHS patients travelling to the mainland to receive specific treatments for chemotherapy, radiotherapy or renal dialysis.

The scheme is owned and administered by the Isle of Wight NHS Trust but since 2006, when the NHS ceased its funding, the council has supported residents by picking up the annual cost.

“No other council in the country provides non-means tested funding to transport NHS patients and so in the light of the savings this council needs to make we must look at whether we can continue to fund it,” Councillor Clare Mosdell, cabinet member for adult social care and public health.

“The scheme is currently allocated £60,000 per year.

“We have no legal duty to fund it and in challenging times, we feel we should look at protecting the front-line services we are legally obliged to fund such as adult social care or mental health services.

“However, it’s really important to us that we listen to the views of Islanders to inform any decisions about the future funding of this scheme.”

Where people have low income or are in receipt of specific qualifying benefits, the NHS has a statutory duty to reimburse their travel costs under the Healthcare Travel Cost Scheme (HTCS). This NHS funded scheme remains in place.

Ferry operators also offer discounts to those who are going to the mainland to receive medical treatment. Links to those schemes are:

Red Jet 7

Hovertravel’s Island Flyer

In 2005, the NHS made a decision to withdraw the discretionary scheme that reimbursed people who were not eligible to claim for their travel costs under the HTCS. The restricted nature of the scheme means that many people with other conditions do not receive assistance.

The consultation will run until 23 December 2018. To take part in the online consultation, please visit:

Background information on the scheme can be found at:

Hard copies can be requested from Healthwatch on (01983) 608608 or text 07739 436600.

You can also pick a hard copy up at libraries, GP practices, Hospital, Citizens Advice, People Matter IW, and the Riverside Centre, Newport.

Please return your hard copy by 24 December 2018 to:

Healthwatch Isle of Wight

The Riverside Centre

The Quay


PO30 2QR