Isolated Patients Get Fairer Travel Subsidies
23 September 2011
The Council of Social Service of NSW (NCOSS) welcomes the NSW Health Minister’s announcement of improvements to the Isolated Patient Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme (ITPAAS).

NCOSS Acting Director, Catherine Mahony said, “The NSW Government’s changes to IPTAAS will make a real difference in the lives of thousands of people living in rural and regional areas by improving their access to health care.

 

The NSW Government’s commitment to increase travel and accommodation subsidies will make the Scheme fairer for people who have to travel significant distances for essential medical treatment. Current IPTAAS subsidies fall well short of meeting the actual costs of travelling to access vital health services. “

 

Revising the IPTAAS eligibility criteria to a cumulative mileage per week, and capping the co-contribution fee, will also make the Scheme more equitable for those health consumers who have to travel on a regular basis to receive specialist medical services.

 

Catherine Mahony said,

 

NCOSS has been seeking improvements to the funding and administration of IPTAAS for some time. The current scheme is inequitable due to the very low levels of reimbursement and complex paperwork requirements.  It’s hard enough for rural people to travel long distances when they are unwell, or to accompany their relatives; these improvements to the Scheme will make a difference.  

 

NCOSS believes that IPTAAS could be made simpler and fairer by implementing an on-line application and administration system, and making provision for payments in advance to reduce the up-front cost burden. 

 

For those on low incomes, particularly in rural and remote areas, transport is a major barrier to accessing specialist health services. High travel and accommodation costs can mean that many people on low incomes are unable to pay essential bills or are simply unable to attend their health appointment.


Media Contact

Catherine Mahony, Acting Director    

Phone: (02) 9211 2599