Pa­tients los­ing out

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

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.”

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