Monday, 20 June 2022
MORE than 3,400 Northern Tablelands patients will benefit from an expansion of the Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme (IPTAAS) over the next 12 months, according to local State MP Adam Marshall, who today welcomed an $149.5 million boost to the program as part of the 2022-23 NSW Budget.
Mr Marshall said he had been campaigning for an increase to IPTAAS, particularly since the price of fuel climbed beyond the $2 per litre mark.
“It’s the sad reality that due to the severe medical workforce shortage in our region, many patients have no option but to travel vast distances to access specialist care,” Mr Marshall said.
“We know the current cost of fuel is acting as a huge drain on household budgets, that’s exacerbated further for those who need to travel for treatments.
“Under these changes the private vehicle subsidy rate will almost double from 22 cents to 40 cents per kilometre for patients who have to travel more than 100 kilometres for care.
“Accommodation rebates will also rise significantly from $43 per night to $75 per night for a 1 to 7-day stay and from $60 per night to $120 per night for an 8-plus night stay.
“For many rural and regional patients, IPTAAS is literally a lifeline and I hope this additional investment will ease financial burden on those going through a difficult time in their lives.”
Mr Marshall said the announcement of an expansion to the scheme’s eligibility has been long overdue and is also welcome.
“Patients attending non-commercial clinical trials, high risk foot clinics, highly specialised publicly funded oral health clinics and ocularists will now be eligible for assistance under the expanded eligibility,” he said.
“This is great news for these patients who were previously unable to receive help under the scheme.
“For example, the many people in our rural communities living with diabetic foot conditions will now qualify for assistance if they are required to travel to high-risk foot clinics for care.”