Patients losing out
CANCER Council Queensland has called on the State Government to overhaul the Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme, following a scathing report by the Queensland Ombudsman.
Cancer Council Queensland CEO, Ms Chris McMillan, said hundreds of cancer patients were being shortchanged by the scheme.
“Regional Queenslanders affected by cancer are constantly doing battle against this bureaucratic process and a hostile subsidy system,” she said.
“Thousands of regional Queenslanders who need to travel to metropolitan centres for treatment are left in psychological and often financial distress as a consequence of administration failures under the Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme.
“The Ombudsman’s findings are similar to our own observations about the scheme – whereby inconsistent and inequitable decision-making results in unfair outcomes, undermining equitable treatment of patients accessing the PTSS, hampering patientfriendly processes, and delaying or denying reimbursement which then results in patients and families incurring considerable expenses and experiencing financial hardship and distress.”
Ms McMillan said the Cancer Council would use the report to fast-track its discussions with the Minister about supporting regional Queenslanders affected by cancer.
“We have advocated tirelessly on this issue over many years, fighting every step of the way with regional patients, carers, and families who have been short-changed by the health system.
“At least 350 regional Queenslanders die from cancer each year simply because they live outside a metropolitan centre – this simply has to stop.
“Fixing the Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme is key to addressing cancer survival and ensuring equity for all Queenslanders, all cancers.
“There are a range of options for improving administration of the scheme, including direct agreements between the State Government and organisations such as Cancer Council Queensland to ensure fairness, efficiency, and more compassionate patient care.”