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Changes to the NHS Patient Travel Reimbursement Scheme have been delayed further – leaving rates set at levels based on prices from 10 years ago. 

Highlands and Islands Regional MSP Rhoda Grant claims the Cabinet Secretary for Health is “sleeping at the wheel”.

Last month Rhoda Grant MSP submitted a Written Question asking when will the NHS patient travel reimbursement scheme be reviewed following a delay due to coronavirus pandemic.

The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care Humza Yousaf has now answered this question stating that the review: “Regrettably, has been delayed due to prioritisation of our ongoing response to Covid and remobilisation of services.”

He also states that this is a substantial exercise for the Scottish Government and NHS Boards to undertake.

Rhoda Grant MSP says: “This policy and reimbursement rates have been out-of-date for well over a decade, but despite the cost of living crisis it is not a priority for the Scottish Government. The Cabinet Secretary is sleeping at the wheel and clearly does not understand the importance of this review for our most rural communities here in the Highlands and Islands.

“I will be continue to put pressure on the Scottish Government and urge the Cabinet Secretary for Health to look again at this decision because this review should have been carried out well before the pandemic hit.”

In the NHS Highland region, under the Highlands and Islands Patient Travel Scheme, the reimbursement rate is 17p per mile.

Additionally, an overnight stay in B&B accommodation is set to a maximum of £50 per night for the patient all year round including the busy summer period. Family/friends will receive £10 per night.

The Scottish Government set overall guidance on Patient Travel Reimbursement – however, disbursements are made by health boards in accordance with their own eligibility policies.