Member for Gregory Lachlan Millar is outraged the city-centric Palaszczuk Labor Government has scrapped increased funding to the Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme, which was introduced by the former LNP Government in 2012.
“The Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme is a key part of the delivery of specialist and allied health care services in rural and regional Queensland,” Mr Millar said.
“In 2012, under the stewardship of the LNP, subsidies for patient travel doubled, increasing the overnight allowance from $30 to $60 per night.
“That was the first time changes had been made to the scheme’s payment schedule in over 20 years.
“The LNP was the only party to recognise that the scheme was outdated and had failed to adequately keep up with rising cost of patient travel.
“In May 2015, I sought clarification from the Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick, asking if he would commit to maintaining these vital payments
“His answer was yes.
“Now we find, the lies have caught up with the government.
“Yesterday’s release of The Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme Ombudsman’s Report, also highlighted significant administrative issues with the scheme, including delayed payments, lack of clarity in the governance framework and inadequate funding.
“The report suggested that in some regions, where there is high demand for patient travel, the scheme is underfunded.
“There are also concerns that a lack of uniformity exists in the way claims are being assessed.
“An overhaul of the Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme is long overdue.
“The Palaszczuk Labor Government have abandoned the scheme, which lies at the heart of the health of Regional Queenslanders.
“Access to specialist health care services should not be determined by a person’s postcode.
“Failure to maintain increased funding for the Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme will hit the pockets of individuals and families who are already struggling with the rising cost of kitchen table bills including electricity, water and registration.
“Continued mismanagement and underfunding of this scheme is placing the health of Regional Queenslanders at risk.”