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PATS win: Forum prompts major changes

Major changes to the Patient Assistance Transport Scheme (PATS) have been announced by Minister for Health Stephen Wade, as a direct result of feedback from our public forum held in Mount Gambier in 2019.

Restrictions that required patients to travel directly to and from their appointment have been lifted, along with the limitation that disqualified people from receiving a subsidy if they stayed more than two additional nights in commercial accommodation, or more than five additional nights with family and friends.

Additionally, the scheme will now support people with a terminal condition who are seeing a medical specialist to continue to see that specialist.

In early 2019, Troy held a public forum with SA’s top PATS experts, the first major forum of its type to be held in regional South Australia.

The scheme, which is designed to subsidise travel and accommodation cost for South Australians who need to travel more than 100km to see medical specialists, requires modernisation to reflect changing times and also to take into account today's cost of living expenses.

Issues raised at the forum included a patient’s right to choose their own specialist, the scheme’s ability to tie in with NDIS funding and why dental services are not recognised under the scheme.

Feedback from this forum was instrumental in triggering a minor review of the scheme by Minister for Health Stephen Wade, which led to the changes.

Many more issues were raised and there remains more to be done to ensure the scheme reflects the needs of regional South Australians. 

Troy would like to thank all those who have taken the time to write, phone or visit our office over the last four years or attend our forum.

As your voice in State Parliament, Troy values your thoughts and opinions. Contact him at mtgambier@parliament.sa.gov.au to share your views.

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