The accommodation allowance paid to Isle of Man patients who are referred to UK hospitals for treatment is set to almost double, the Manx health minister has said.

From 1 June, patients and their escorts will be able to claim up to £50 per night, up from £28.

The figure for accommodation in London will rise from £41.50 to £74.

David Ashford MHK said the increases would “give comfort” to those receiving treatment away from the island.

Rob Callister MHK, who raised concerns over the issue in the House of Keys in April, said the hike was “welcome news” for patients who had struggled to pay for accommodation.

It is the first time the payments have been reviewed since they were introduced in 2004.

The health department said the increases would cost about £165,000 during the 2019-20 financial year.

‘Families struggled’

Mr Ashford said it was “clear” the payments needed to be reviewed to keep pace with the cost of hotel accommodation.

The payments would be kept under review, he added.

Mr Callister said the rise was long overdue, adding: “Payments did not reflect the actual cost of overnight accommodation in the UK, not even on a contribution level.”

The Department of Health and Social Care pays the costs of travel for patients referred to hospitals off the island but there is a cap on the amount that can be claimed to cover an overnight stay.

Patients are eligible to make a claim if they are sent by a consultant at Noble’s Hospital.

In 2018-19 claims for almost 9,000 nights of accommodation cost the government about £250,000.

Source: BBC