MORAY CANCER PATIENTS are in some cases entitled to NHS Grampian funded beds at a CLAN haven in Aberdeen – but others must pay £30 per night.
With a typical stay lasting up to five weeks that could mean some patients having to pay a significant fee – while others do not have to pay anything as a ‘postcode lottery’ comes into play.
The discrepancy came to light when Moray’s MSP, Richard Lochhead, was contacted by an elderly cancer patient who lived in his constituency at a postcode with the AB prefix. She said that she had been told she would have to pay for her own accommodation for the duration of her treatment because of her postcode – had it been prefixed IV she would not.
A shocking result from that is that many cancer patients, often elderly and undergoing radiotherapy, cannot afford to stay in Aberdeen.
CLAN Haven has confirmed to Mr Lochhead that this is indeed the case, and advised that NHS Grampian fund 12 beds in Aberdeen for patients undergoing radiotherapy – but that these beds are only for people with IV post codes or from Orkney and Shetland. They also confirmed that this was not always the case but was the result of a change in NHS Grampian’s policy in recent years.
Mr Lochhead said: “I’m concerned to learn that a cancer patient undergoing radiotherapy treatment from, for example, Fochabers, which has a direct bus route to Aberdeen, can stay at CLAN Haven free of charge for the duration of their treatment.
“Yet one of my constituents from the likes of Glenlivet, where there is no public transport to Aberdeen, would have to self-fund. This is an incredible situation and fails to take people’s circumstances into account.
“I understand a typical stay can last five weeks, sometimes longer, which could rack up bills of over £1000 – this is simply unaffordable for some people and creates a post code lottery for radiotherapy patients.
“I have written to the Chief Executive of NHS Grampian urging that the matter be looked at and changes made to ensure a fairer system.
“It seems very unfair that people living a mere few miles apart could go for the same treatment and that one could face no cost while the other faced a large bill.”