Travel subsidy 'stupidity' Lea Emery | 14th June 2011 The Queensland Health method of calculating travel distances means some Bundaberg patients travelling long distances for treatment are unable to receive a travel subsidy. Max Fleet THE way Queensland Health calculates distances between towns has meant hundreds of Bundaberg patients may be missing out on a vital travel subsidy. For patients who travel a round trip of more than 600km for specialist treatment, the Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme (PTSS) allows them $30 for a night’s accommodation. But Queensland Health has been calculating the distance between Bundaberg and Rockhampton using a series of back roads, meaning the trip will come in just under the threshold at 287km one way. The trip routes a patient travelling from Bundaberg, through Rosedale via the Rosedale-Lowmead Rd, a route which is often affected by flooding. But if a patient travels via Gin Gin and joins the Bruce Highway, a more popular route with people from Bundaberg, a one-way trip ends up at 323km. A number of patients from Bundaberg travel to Rockhampton to receive cancer treatment. A sign, just near the Bundaberg Hospital on the Don Tallon Bridge, shows Rockhampton as being 321km from the Rum City. Member for Bundaberg Jack Dempsey said he was seeing about one patient a week who had discovered this problem when applying for the PTSS. “They are all thinking this is significantly unfair,” he said. Mr Dempsey said he had seen one patient who was told because they were 5km under the threshold they would not receive any assistance if they wished to stay the night. “It’s blatant stupidity,” Mr Dempsey said. “Someone who is affected by cancer, they are not going to be able to travel those type of distances in one day.” A Queensland Health spokeswoman said all PTSS grants were assessed using the method of calculation from post office to post office. “The PTSS for patients who choose to travel by road from Bundaberg to Rockhampton is calculated on the most direct route between the two cities,” she said. “All PTSS applications are medically assessed on a case-by-case basis, including the need for accommodation.” In the past 12 months, Queensland Health has paid more than $1.7 million assisting more than 4500 patients with travel and accommodation expenses so they can receive treatment. “This has helped ease the cost for patients needing access to medical services such as cardiology, ENT, neurology, oncology and a range of highly specialised paediatric services, all of which must be provided from a major tertiary hospital,” Queensland Health Wide Bay Health Service District CEO Ken Whelan said. “We also meet full cost of airfares and our petrol subsidy is approximately equal to full petrol costs of a four cylinder car.” /see website
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LNP slams CQ patients' subsidies
11th October 2010
QUEENSLAND Health paid out $6.8 million in the last financial year to CQ patients required to travel to Brisbane and other major regional centres to receive medical treatment.
That's one tenth of what the Federal Government is spending to establish a cancer unit at Rockhampton Hospital.
Opposition health spokesman Mark McArdle said the amount paid by the government under the Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme across Queensland had increased 9.5% on the previous years.
And Central Queenslanders were relying on the system more than anyone.
Figures reveal sick patients in Central Queensland were forced to travel more than sixmillion kilometres by car and stay in accommodation for more than 45,000 nights.
“Bligh and Labor seem to think that the significant increase in the cost of the PTSS every year is something to crow about … far from it, it simply shows the availability of specialised medical services in Rockhampton, Gladstone and Emerald and surrounding areas is deteriorating,” Mr McArdle said.
“Not only is this an inconvenience to patents forced to travel it impacts on residents of Brisbane by adding to waiting lists.
“The LNP acknowledges some specialist medical services cannot be delivered in Central Queensland and are therefore committed to boosting the level of assistance to sick patients needing to travel.”
He said it was wrong for Labor to be giving sick people just $30 a night towards the cost of accommodation in Brisbane or another major regional centre.
“It has been so long since Labor has increased the accommodation subsidy that in 2010 it will barely get you a bed in a dorm in a hostel,” Mr McArdle said.
“The LNP will unveil the details of its reforms to the PTSS before the 2012 election, but sick Queenslanders travelling for medical care can be confident that they will receive more assistance under the LNP than they will under Labor.
“Clearly Labor is more interested in building up the Queensland Health bureaucracy than providing a decent level of assistance to patients needing to travel for health care”.
Money Queensland Health paid out in the 2009-10 financial year on the Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme:
By model52 from Kepnock on 14/6/2011 at 11:51AM
I would love to see the Queensland Health Dept. find accommodation in Brisbane for $30 per night. Nearly 2 years ago I had to go to Brisbane to have and angiogram , and you have to have a carer with you and your are not allowed to drive yourself. As you have to be down there the day before the procedure, and then stay the night of the procedure, I ended up having to pay for three adults for two nights accommodation,and I am on a single pension. The Accommodation Subsidy went no where near covering the expenses. The total Scheme needs to be updated.
‘’The Queensland PTSS is administered at the health district level. Queensland
Health does not have central records of the number of patients accessing the
scheme, therefore, it is not possible to analyse the number of people using the
scheme or the cost per person. Some information about patient usage is available for the Northern Area Health Service, which indicates a degree of variability in the reported number of trips in that area’’
Health subsidy schemes (the Spectacle Subsidy Scheme, Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme and … Bureau 2005, Queensland Health Systems Review … sources of funds Of total recurrent health …