The service provided by the patient transfer team is being reviewed by health chiefs.

The team arranges transfer for patients who need to travel to the UK for treatment.

Lawrie Hooper (LibVannin, Ramsey) praised the job done by those on the team but, in the House of Keys last week, he added: ’As we all know, flights can change and be cancelled at very short notice.

’Sometimes it can be extremely difficult to get hold of the patient transfer team in these circumstances.’

Health Minister David Ashford said: ’There is already a review being undertaken.’

The service handled 17,000 transfers a year, he added. ’The volume of work going through is quite extra ordinary.’

Rob Callister (Onchan) first raised the issue of patient transfers at Tuesday’s sitting, saying that a change to the Flybe timetable left some patients having to fly back from Manchester – rather than Liverpool – and at a later time, on Wednesdays.

Mr Ashford said the timetable change came within Flybe’s contract to provide a patient transfer service and could, in some instances, actually improve the situation for patients who had previously faced an ’exorbitant wait’ for their return flight following an appointment.

Mr Callister asked for a statement on future patient transfer services using either Easyjet or the Steam Packet.

The minister said the Department of Health and Social Care still had two years left on its contract with Flybe for the provision of air transport from the Isle of Man to the north-west of England for patients referred to the UK for an NHS appointment.

’There are occasions where scheduled Flybe flights to the north-west are not the most suitable form of travel for a particular patient journey and the contract allows the necessary flexibility to use an alternative route or provider in these circumstances,’ he added.

’For example, a more appropriate flight time or destination may be offered by an alternative provider for a particular patient journey.’

Source: IoMToday