The Patient Assisted Travel Scheme (PATS) will receive a $52 million boost if The Nationals WA are returned to Government at the State election.
PATS provides assistance to regional West Australians by subsidising travel and accommodation for patients travelling long distances to receive specialist medical services.
Member for Central Wheatbelt Mia Davies MLA said The Nationals would increase existing subsidies, revise eligibility requirements and enhance the scheme if re-elected on March 11.
“Unlike city people, regional West Australians are often required to travel vast distances to access specialist health services unavailable in country towns,” Ms Davies said.
“This funding boost will go a long way in ensuring Wheatbelt residents have access to required subsidies and assistance for important medical treatment.”
Under The Nationals’ plan, fuel subsidies will increase to 19c for every kilometre travelled and accommodation subsidies will increase to cover approximately 50 per cent of the average hotel rate in Perth.
Air travel and cumulative travel hours and distance will also be reduced to make eligibility easier.
Ms Davies said Northam patients required to travel to Perth for specialist medical treatment multiple times per week would qualify for PATS funding under the revised model.
“Rigidity of eligibility criteria will be slackened while allied health coverage, dental treatment for children and oral medical and pathology specialist services will be included under our plan,” she said.
Agricultural Region MP Hon Martin Aldridge MLC, who was instrumental in instigating a 2015 Parliamentary review of PATS, said the scheme needed modernising.
“The Parliamentary inquiry highlighted a number of issues with the way eligibility was determined – the outdated subsidy schedule for fuel and accommodation expenses, health services and the claims process,” Mr Aldridge said.
“That’s why The Nationals WA are committed to the continual improvement of PATS to ensure the standard of and access to healthcare for regional residents is not compromised.”
For more information visit: www.nationalswa.com/policies.
For media enquiries please contact Mia Davies on 08 9041 1702 (Merredin office), 08 9622 2871 (Northam office) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.