Healthy Move

Friday February 16, 2024

IT'S no secret that accessing specialist medical services poses challenges for regional residents.

Patients are regularly required to travel as far as Adelaide to receive treatment, which is why the Patient Assistance Travel Scheme (PATS) is so important.

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

Since becoming Member for Mount Gambier in 2014, I've been advocating for PATS to keep pace with real-life expenses, especially fuel and accommodation costs.

While we secured a win last year with the doubling of the fuel subsidy, there's still much work to be done.

It's been nine years since the accommodation allowance was last increased, from $33 to $44. It has never been more evident that $44 doesn't go far in covering a night in a motel.

We can't have people feeling pressured to endure a 10-hour round trip to Adelaide due to accommodation costs.

Regional residents deserve the same access to medical specialists as our city counterparts without financial strain.

I'll be addressing Parliament next month to push for improvements to the current scheme, particularly an increase in the accommodation allowance.

Your input matters if you have suggestions or feedback about PATS, please reach out to our office. Together, let's ensure equitable access to healthcare for all South Australians.

Troy Bell, Mount Gambier MP