Western Isles Health Board: funding for patient travel/patient escort: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

FOI reference: FOI/18/02053
Date received: 28 July 2018 
Date responded: 28 August 2018
Information requested

You asked: for the last three years available, including any current year if possible, for the Western Isles Health Board (WIHB), for patient travel/patient escort, does the Scottish Government allocate any funding to WIHB for the above? If so, is it ring-fenced? Do the Scottish Government allocate extra funding if requested? How is the amount allocated determined? Are underspends carried over between financial years? Do the Scottish Government influence/control the agency WIHB uses to book air tickets? Do the Scottish Government influence/control the rates of travel expenses WIHB pays to patients/escorts? In the period mentioned above, has WIHB approached the Scottish Government for additional funding for the above, and if so what was the outcome on each occasion?


Prior to 2015/16, the Highlands and Islands Travel Scheme (HITS) was centrally funded by the Scottish Government. From 2015/16, funding was transferred to NHS Boards for management through their recurring baseline budgets. This funding is not ringfenced and Boards are responsible for managing their budgets locally. The purpose of this transfer was to incentivise better use of resources, whilst simultaneously improving the experience and outcomes for patients.

The Scottish Government is not involved in Boards’ procurement of services for air travel.
Rates for reimbursement of travel costs and escorts are set locally by NHS Boards, however, the cost of travel or accommodation for an escort is only reimbursed if an escort is deemed clinically necessary.

NHS Western Isles have not approached the Scottish Government to request extra funding for HITS in the last three years, however, any requests for extra funding would be reviewed by senior managers.

In terms of providing additional flexibility for Boards in the management of their overall budget allocations, the Scottish Government has supported all NHS Boards over the last three years by allowing Boards’ total underspends to be carried forward and spent in the subsequent financial year.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at https://www.gov.scot/foi-responses


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit 
Email: ceu@gov.scot  
Phone: 0300 244 4000 
The Scottish Government 
St Andrew's House 
Regent Road 

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