Extra transport support
The Victorian coalition would ease the cost of accessing specialist healthcare for people living in country Victoria by increases reimbursement rates for the Victorian Patient Transport Assistance Scheme if elected next month.
People who have to travel more than 100 km one way or 500 km a week for specialist medical treatment are eligible for financial assistance under the VPTA scheme to help with the cost of travelling to and staying near the treatment.
Victorian Member for Ovens Valley Tim McCurdy said the policy recognised country people, who have to travel long distances to see medical or dental specialists, were disadvantaged by the spiralling costs.
The coalition is proposing an increase from $45 to $60 for nightly accommodation and the cents a kilometre reimbursement rate rising from 21 cents to 25 cents.
‘‘A Liberal Nationals government will also make sure patients and carers are reimbursed faster by employing more staff to halve reimbursement turnaround times,’’ Mr McCurdy said.
‘‘Ten extra staff, dedicated to helping patients efficiently through the system and improving reimbursement times, will be located in Ballarat.
Mr McCurdy said a Liberal Nationals government would investigate the scheme to enhance access, including considering the minimum and cumulative distance thresholds, stepped payments for longstay patients and inclusion of patients who travel to access clinical trials or require emergency care.
‘‘The Liberal Nationals are committed to decentralising Victoria and encouraging growth in our regional areas; but to do that we need to ensure that all Victorians can access top quality healthcare,’’ he said.