I do appreciate how emotive the issue of travel costs for young people receiving cancer treatment is for many people. I have spoken with Ministerial colleagues in the Department of Health and have made sure they are aware of the broader concerns raised on this issue.
I absolutely understand how distressing it must be for young people, and their families, if they are diagnosed with cancer. I believe it is vital that young people affected by this terrible disease get the care and support they need. Cancer can affect all areas of a person's life, including finances.
The Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme allows for patients (and in some circumstances their carers) to receive reimbursement for travel if they are receive certain benefits or are on a low income, and if they have been referred to hospital or other NHS premises for specialist NHS treatment.
NHS England has stated that work is underway to review the service specifications for children and young people with cancer services. I understand this will provide an opportunity to consider how some aspects of the patient pathway may be provided more locally to reduce the travel burden for patients and their families.
I await the outcome of this review with interest and will continue to follow this issue very closely.