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Children's Medical Treatment (Parental Costs)

Volume 979: debated on Thursday 28 February 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will specify any benefits available for parents accompanying a child sent for medical treatment far from home with special reference to assistance with the cost of transport accomodation and loss of pay during the period of absence from work; and if these benefits apply to parents where attendance upon their sick child is requested specially by the medical authorities.

Under the hospital fares scheme, health authorities have powers to assist with travelling expenses of children and an escorting parent attending NHS hospitals who would otherwise suffer financial hardship as assessed by the Supplementary Benefits Commission. This applies whether or not the parents are in receipt of supplementary benefit.When the presence at hospital of one or both parents is necessary on medical grounds, the Supplementary Benefits Commission can consider a claim in the normal way if the parent has to take unpaid leave from a full-time job. When, in such cases, a return journey cannot be undertaken on the same day, the commission can also consider helping with the cost of overnight accommodation.Where the hospital considers the presence of a parent at the hospital necessary for the well-being of the child, accommodation at the hospital may be provided free of charge.