Patient Assisted Travel Scheme inquiry: MP wants all recommendations adopted including bigger subsidy
The Labor Member for Mining and Pastoral, Stephen Dawson, is calling on the State Government to accept all 21 recommendations from an inquiry into Western Australia's Patient Assisted Travel Scheme (PATS).
PATS subsidises travel for regional residents who need to attend specialist medical appointments more than 100 kilometres away.
The Standing Committee on Public Administration tabled its report in Parliament yesterday, recommending the subsidy for travel and accommodation be increased.
Mr Dawson, who is also a committee member, said it also recommended PATS be reviewed annually, the scope of medical services be expanded and appeals be better managed.
"So I think they've got a period of about two months to digest it," he said.
"I'm hopeful that they will listen to the committee, accept all the recommendation and ... a significant amount of funding will be put into ensuring that the PATS scheme is properly funded.
"At the moment people who need to go to Perth to receive medical treatment only get a subsidy of $60 a day.
"That is not enough and in fact $60 a day would often only buy you a bed in a youth hostel or a backpackers, so importantly the committee found that amount has to be increased significantly."
Indigenous medical service wants action not 'talkfest'
The Broome Regional Aboriginal Medical Service said the inquiry risked being another "talkfest" unless its recommendations were acted upon.
CEO Henry Councillor said one of the committee's most important findings was the lack of coordinated support for Aboriginal people.
"Nine times out of 10 these people are sitting in the airports waiting for instructions on where else to go and some of them can be sitting up there for hours," he said.
"If those recommendations are clearly highlighted that these are the areas of concentration that we need to take in consideration with the West Australian Government and I think that it should be set as a priority.
"The recommendations are wonderful and they look nice and glossy and beautiful but if they're not implemented in the proper way, and financially supported to the max to ensure that these things do happen, with not only the financial capacity but the human capacity, it's just another talkfest and I'm waiting for a time when we don't have to talk about this any more."