§ Mr. Barry Field
To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the hospital travel costs scheme was established; what are the arrangements for payments to claimants; and what records there are of the number of claimants for travel costs under the scheme for each of the last three years.
§ Mr. Sackville
There have been arrangements for the reimbursement of national health service travel costs to hospital since 1948. Under the current scheme, which has been in place since 1988, assistance with the costs of travel to hospital for treatment is available to patients on income support or family credit or who are otherwise assessed to be on a low income. Patients who can demonstrate entitlement are usually able to obtain their travel expenses at the hospital when they attend for treatment; otherwise payment is subject to confirmation of entitlement. Information on the number of claims made is not held centrally.