NEW £70 PRICE CAP FOR NHS PATIENTS TRAVELLING TO MAINLAND HOSPITALS WITH WIGHTLINK

Wightlink is making changes to further support Isle of Wight residents with health issues who need to use its ferries by introducing a £70 price cap for NHS patients.

Every year around 12,000 Island residents cross the Solent for NHS appointments using Wightlink’s car ferries and FastCat foot passenger services.

From today (Thursday), a price cap of £35 per single leg (£70 for a return journey) will apply for Isle of Wight residents who wish to take a vehicle to mainland NHS appointments at any time throughout the year. This ceiling will apply alongside the 50% discount that can result in fares lower than £35 a leg.

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Phil Delaney, Wightlink’s Commercial Director, has said:

“Our experienced staff in the Contact Centre will continue to advise NHS patients on how Wightlink’s 50% discount will enable them to travel for the lowest fare. However, this price ceiling will reassure them that they will not pay more than £35 per single leg for a vehicle journey to the mainland for their NHS appointment.”

Customers booking these fares will continue to be required to provide evidence of their NHS appointments in order to access the discounts. Some travel costs incurred by Isle of Wight residents can also be refunded through a scheme run by the Isle of Wight Council and the NHS.

Over the last few months, Wightlink has held focus group meetings with Island health organisations and charities including Wessex Cancer Support, Healthwatch and the Isle of Wight Ambulance Service, facilitated by Island communications specialist Robertson Foster.

The ferry company has also taken into account customer feedback about fares for NHS travel at its Island Link Forum meetings at Fishbourne and Yarmouth.

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As a result, Wightlink is embarking on a programme to develop its support for the Island’s health economy including:

  • Closer links with the Island’s ambulance service
  • A dedicated assisted travel phone line, to be introduced shortly
  • A commitment to meet and establish closer relationships with Island organisations such as Wessex Cancer Support and the Daisy Chains children’s charity

Phil Delaney adds:

“We are grateful for the comments and suggestions received from our focus groups. As the issue of NHS travel is of great importance to our customers, we will continue to develop our services and bring in further enhancements.”

In response to the news, the Island’s MP Bob Seely has said:

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“I’m really pleased Wightlink is increasing its support for Islanders crossing the Solent for NHS appointments on the mainland.

“I particularly welcome the fact that these passengers will never pay more than £70 return for their ticket whatever the time of year they book, and that a dedicated phone line will help ensure that they can get the best price and address any other issues they may have.

“I’m also really pleased that Wightlink is listening to the voices of residents and other health organisations. There is always more to do but this is a step in the right direction.”

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The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
32 Comments
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Joe Bloggs
Joe Bloggs
6 months ago

About time the NHS started paying these costs, It’s not our fault that we can’t be treated on the Island. High time we had a proper NHS over here.

Kevin
Kevin
Reply to  Joe Bloggs
6 months ago

The Island will never have a decent NHS
Lack of Medical brains on the Island.
Just look at most of them, unfit, smoke like chimneys
and full of Tatt’s, and they are meant to be looking after
Patients.
Don’t make me laugh, they are only working for the
NHS for the east life.
Good pay, excellent overtime and benefits
like store discounts etc and an excellent Pension.

It’s a no Brainer.

Grim Reaper
Grim Reaper
Reply to  Kevin
6 months ago

So you wouldn’t be using it in the future then?

islander
islander
Reply to  Joe Bloggs
6 months ago

it is your fault – you have chosen to continue to live on an island, which by definition can never have a hospital that treats everything,

Fat Freddie
Fat Freddie
Reply to  islander
6 months ago

No ferry company should monopolise on peoples illnesses to benefit themselves!! It’s disgustingly extortionate prices aren’t acceptable sick or not!! I assume you’re just some rich git sitting there smirking at everyone else if you aren’t, then you’re just an annoying one!

Last edited 6 months ago by Fat Freddie
The Real Sunshine
The Real Sunshine
Reply to  islander
6 months ago

This is so true and I agree islander. You will always have to travel to other hospitals for certain specialist treatment, even on the mainland. You can’t expect one hospital to treat everything. Some people are just so narrow minded.

Straighten63
Straighten63
Reply to  Joe Bloggs
6 months ago

So true..maybe they could have used all those millions given to Portsmouth

John
John
Reply to  Joe Bloggs
6 months ago

Need to convince specialists to move to the Island. Although many are against paying competitive salaries that would convince specialists to move over here so we ought to figure out something else to offer them instead. It’s simple free market: employees go where they can have best life, and for many potential employees we are competing here with the entire UK including private healthcare, if not entire world.

The Real Sunshine
The Real Sunshine
Reply to  Joe Bloggs
6 months ago

We can’t expect the NHS to pay for travel costs man! We choose to live on this island. It’s progress I suppose, Wightlink acknowledging NHS appointments. But keep in mind the amount of sailings they cancel.
Yes, it would be great if we didn’t have to travel and all services were available at St Mary’s, but that is never going to happen. Perhaps you should move to the mainland?

Miss Sensible
Miss Sensible
6 months ago

Wow how generous !!!!
Even £7o is to much ….
If the
Hovercraft allow charity folk to go free for abseiling the spinnaker tower, why can’t wightlink allow a bigger discount?????? For people who need medical treatment of which the iow do not cater for !!!@@

I Believe
I Believe
Reply to  Miss Sensible
6 months ago

You are right, the Hovercraft plus a taxi on the mainland to the hospital and back is almost half the Wightlink fare.

Grim Reaper
Grim Reaper
Reply to  I Believe
6 months ago

And only runs half the time

Trev
Trev
6 months ago

£20 is too much to cross the solent.

I wonder what profit Wightlink makes on a full Ferry load of vehicles.

Wolf
Wolf
Reply to  Trev
6 months ago

I was told once ,all wightlink need is one full car ferry per day to cover costs,after that its pure profit !!!!!!

Trev
Trev
Reply to  Wolf
6 months ago

I could well believe it.
They are taking the p*ss out of us Islanders and Tourists.

The Island MP should make them cap their fares at £50 a return crossing.

Island residents should be issued with 2 free Ferry crossing passes per year.

Chris
Chris
6 months ago

What a joke imagine taking £70 from a sick person that needs treatment who probably isn’t working as too sick.

Wolf
Wolf
Reply to  Chris
6 months ago

Its £69 too much !!!

Bill
Bill
6 months ago

£70.00 return!!!!! Words fail me.

F B'stard
F B'stard
Reply to  Bill
6 months ago

Red Funnel offer 50% off for NHS appointments. Last time, mid august, we crossed for £52.00 return in car.

Anne Gree-Taxpayer
Anne Gree-Taxpayer
6 months ago

Up in Scotland the NHS refunds everything bar the first £10 if you need to take a ferry to a mainland appointment. You are deemed as needing to use a car if you have any mobility issues or cannot use connecting public transport for any reason e.g. neutropenia, otherwise you are expected to travel on foot.

In short it means that island residents aren’t unduly penalised as most mainland based patients will incur SOME travel costs getting to the hosp – taxi, bus fare etc.

Jack
Jack
Reply to  Anne Gree-Taxpayer
6 months ago

I would be very happy to pay the same amount as they do on the mainland. If you stick the price of the ferry on top of there costs I am sure you would soon have them up in arms . Just saying.

NotPastItYet
NotPastItYet
6 months ago

Around 12000 patients a year. £70/return trip. That’s a nice (almost) guaranteed income of £840000 a year.

Sjw
Sjw
6 months ago

It’s hard enough travelling to and from the island to mainland when you have treatment .
What would benefit a lot more patients. Is to have radiotherapy available on the island which would be a massive help to people also more chemotherapy drugs to be available for different cancers .
Open the prison pump money in to building new units for cancers patients.
So we could be treated here on our island that would also make such big help to all the residents that live here on this island
But the car ferry are now helping us out it’s a little late but moving forward we need to sort out treatment units here aswel

Fat Freddie
Fat Freddie
6 months ago

Unbelievable!! Wightlink want us to feel grateful to them for only charging £70 return to travel over by car to hospital. Thanks for that! Money grabbing xxxxxxx s!!!
No discount for foot passengers then? We can’t help it if we have to go over the water for treatment it’s unfair!!
It’s way too expensive to use the ferries in any situation even to pop over to do a bit of shopping. Why can’t they give something back to its customers especially us residents, even the odd weekend treat like £12 return as red funnel does as an incentive to leave and explore the mainland. It’s disgusting how selfish they are and they never run properly either!

Ace
Ace
6 months ago

It’s £11 for each return journey and for more condensed treatment periods, I understand that prices start from £147 for UNLIMITED one month travel on the Hovercraft, which links up with the Daisy Bus at Southsea. I believe you can claim the cost of travel back from the NHS, but I’m not 100% sure, so best to check with your hospital. All you need is a letter from your hospital confirming your treatment schedule.

Although it’s tough having an additional financial burden at a potentially challenging time, at least this would appear much better value if you don’t need to travel in a vehicle!

Linda Grice
Linda Grice
6 months ago

£70 to go to QA or Southampton??? Blooming scandalous!!!! Daylight robbery to penalise the sick and infirm!!!!

Wolf
Wolf
6 months ago

NHS patients should get free travel, why should they pay, the NHS should pay ,its the NHS’s fault they have to go to the mainland for treatment,they cut the services available here on the island.!!!!!

Joris Bohnson
Joris Bohnson
Reply to  Wolf
6 months ago

Don’t like it. Move.

Steven
Steven
6 months ago

£70 is still not cheap and at that price they are still making a healthy profit.
So why the praise?

Alfredo
Alfredo
6 months ago

WOW!!! Thanks Wightlink,you are such a wonderful company.£70’s a real steal in my eyes,hope you are still making a profit out of that,wouldn’t want you doing it and being out of pocket.

Not fooled
Not fooled
6 months ago

If Wightlink really cared about people needing to travel for hospital treatment they should let them travel for free. I know they are a “for profit” company, but to profit from sick people just shows that they are heartless.

Soobi
Soobi
6 months ago

How this company has the nerve to feel good about this is beyond belief. Imagine being told you have cancer and that you should be pleased that you only have to pay this amount at a time when you are no longer sure you can go on working or even have the energy to get through the exhausting treatment you will need. Also you will not be feeling at all well and will be very anxious and scared about everything. I believe that some of the comments made should have been removed and can only wonder at the inability to stop yourself from making such disgusting remarks. Please remember the saying ‘ There but for the Grace of God go I’
in other words it could be you next, struggling to pay to save your own life.

 

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