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HFA to seek input on travel and accommodation

Media release 24 August 1999

HFA to seek input on travel and accommodation issues

The Health Funding Authority (HFA) will meet the Child Cancer Foundation and health professionals as soon as possible to discuss travel and accommodation issues facing families with children with cancer.

HFA Clinical Advisor Gabrielle Collison said today that meetings would be arranged within the next few weeks to seek views as to the appropriate level of financial and practical support for families who need to travel away from home to receive treatment.

This information will then feed into HFA work being done to achieve a nationally consistent travel and accommodation policy. The need to improve travel and accommodation services was raised in a report by a British paediatric oncologist Michael Stevens issued by the HFA today.

He recommended the HFA should establish a forum urgently to discuss financial and practical issues around travel and accommodation with health professionals and the Child Cancer Foundation.

Dr Collison said the HFA has already started work with the hospitals seeking their views on travel and accommodation in order to adopt a national policy. This will replace the four regional policies established by the former regional health authorities.

Work was done on the policy for the last contracting round with hospitals, but it was decided that the matter was far more complex than first thought. This was because of the issue of "inter-regional flows" where people travel outside their regions to other regions for treatment.

The need for people to travel to other regions for complex treatment has become more of an issue in recent years as hospitals have developed specialist expertise in treating certain conditions.

It was agreed that rather than a "quick-fix" solution, the matter would be addressed comprehensively, Dr Collison said.

The work around the issue is continuing as part of the HFA's work plan with hospitals and it is expected that a proposal will be developed by Feb 2000 for implementation in July 2000 as part of the next hospital contracting round.

ENDS

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