The long stretch of road between local patients and their specialist appointments can seem endless and prove costly, but there could be some relief on the way.
The NSW Government’s 2022-23 Budget includes an investment of a further $149.5 million to the Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme (IPTAAS). IPTAAS supported 2225 people in the Cootamundra Electorate last year. This further investment will help many more.
Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke welcomed the funding boost. “We understand travel and accommodation can be expensive and we’re committed to doing what we can to ease the financial pressure on patients,” Ms Cooke said.
“We know there are a large number of people in the Cootamundra electorate who previously have been unable to receive help under this scheme, who will now be eligible.” The scheme will be expanded to include patients seeking non-commercial clinical trials, high-risk foot clinics, highly specialised publicly funded dental health clinics and ocularists. The subsidy for people needing accommodation will be almost doubled.
The NSW Government will also nearly double the private vehicle subsidy rate from 22 cents to 40 cents per kilometre for patients who need to travel more than 100 kilometres for care.
Minister for Regional Health, Bronnie Taylor said the announcement would see a huge weight lifted from many patients who were previously unable to receive assistance. “We know that when you have to travel for healthcare, the costs can quickly add up, and this can be a huge financial burden on patients and their families,” Mrs Taylor said.
“If we, as Government, can do one thing to support people and their families during a time of great emotional and financial distress, this is it.”
This funding will see our overall investment in IPTAAS tripled over the next four years, Networked, highly specialised care sometimes requires significant travel in rural and remote communities and IPTAAS is essential to ensuring people can access the care while also reducing out-of-pocket costs.
This investment forms part of the NSW Government’s $4.5 billion record commitment to the State’s Health workforce, with 10,148 full-time equivalent staff to be recruited over four years.
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