New Approach to Central Highlands Patient Travel

  • CQHHS responds to local members complaints
  • Staff numbers to be boosted and claims backlog cleared
  • Emerald Hospital Patient Travel Office to take full control

Complaints by local member Lachlan Millar about the administration of the patient travel subsidy scheme for Central Highlands’ patients have resulted in a positive response by the Central Queensland Health and Hospital Service.

Additional staff are being recruited to boost the Emerald Hospital Patient Travel Office to address the backlog of unprocessed claims and to provide regular office hours for patients to receive advice and assistance.

Welcoming the improvements, Mr Millar congratulated the Board and the Executive for taking the decision to bring all the functions associated with Central Highlands Patient Travel claims under the control of the Emerald Patient Travel Office at Emerald Hospital.

“Importantly they are also boosting staff numbers so that patients will be able to receive assistance and advice in person during regular office hours, by telephone or via email or fax,” said Mr Millar.

“I am delighted with this response as issues with Patient Travel for my constituents in the Central Highlands is the single biggest source of health complaints to my office. I thank the Board for their willingness to give me a hearing and respond constructively.”

Mr Millar said the new arrangements should allow patients to have a much improved experience as they would deal with the same staff all the way through and those staff would be able to develop corporate memory of patients’ situations and of Queensland Health’s administrative requirements.

“With this major outcome at a local level, I will now be concentrating on trying to lobby the Minister to have the paperwork simplified. After all, this is money that is allocated to help country patients travel. By definition, the people using the system are ill and under stress. We shouldn’t be making them jump through unnecessary hoops,” he said.

“I would like the Minister to commission a review of all the forms, asking what information is really necessary for the proper administration of the scheme. We need to look at every question we are asking country patients and ask does gathering that information serve any real purpose. I do believe there is scope to make simpler, shorter paperwork trails.”