Patient accommodation allowance review 'long overdue'
A review of the accommodation allowance paid to Isle of Man patients referred for treatment at UK hospitals is "long overdue", a minister has said.
Patients and their escorts can currently claim up to £28 per night, rising to £41.50 for the London area.
Health minister David Ashford said a shortfall between hotel costs and the allowance was a "burden" for some.
Rob Callister MHK said the amount paid was "far too low" and should be "urgently reviewed".
The allowance has not been increased since it was introduced in 2004.
Mr Ashford said he was "aware of cases where people are struggling" and a review would be carried out "this year".
He said for those patients who "require escorts, it has been a burden".
He added that any future changes to the allowance would be introduced during the 2020-21 financial year.
The Department of Health pays the travel costs for patients who are sent to the UK for hospital treatment, but the amount that can be claimed if an overnight stay is required is capped.
Claims for almost 9,000 nights of accommodation were made in 2018-19, costing the government about £250,000.
The Isle of Man Council of Voluntary Organisations' David Gawne said the current allowance was "inequitable" and the review was "good to see".
He said people were "just looking to cover their costs", adding: "The allowance should be sufficient to cover the cost of reasonable accommodation."