Monday 1 March 2010

Queensland patient subsidy not reviewed since 1989

NOT THE BLUES: Premier Anna Bligh and Cook MP Jason O'Brien listen as Pink in the Tropics representatives put their case on the PTSS accommodation allowance.
Cook MP Jason O’Brien says that a meeting at yesterday’s community cabinet in Innisfail with Premier Anna Bligh and the Mossman-Port Douglas breast cancer support group, Pink in the Tropics, was constructive.
“It took us a step further along the road to easing the financial and emotional burden on people in the Far North who have to travel to get medical treatment,” O'Brien says. “It was a very positive meeting, and Pink in the Tropics got a good reception from the Premier.
O'Brien says that arguments presented on State Government’s Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme will help the Government change the way they look after people who have to travel for medical treatment.

Pink in the Tropics is leading a statewide campaign for an increase in the subsidy scheme accommodation allowance, which is administered by pubic hospitals. It helps people get specialist medical services that are not available in their local area by subsidising the cost of transport and accommodation.
However Jason O’Brien says he wants to reduce the need to travel.
“Treatment as close to home, family and friends as possible is most important,” he said. “That is why our first priority is to build an oncology unit in Cairns. Our second priority is to have purpose-built accommodation available, which is why we have allocated $200,000 in seed funding to the Red Cross and the Cancer Council for accommodation for patients travelling to Cairns for treatment.”
O’Brien is sponsoring a Pink in the Tropics e-petition calling for the allowance to be increased.
The subsidy of $30 a night for meals and accommodation has not been reviewed since 1989.
Jason O'Brien says it's a very personal matter for him, as his mother died from breast cancer.
"She had to travel to Sydney to get radium treatment and support from her family there, so I do know myself how much of a help any increase in the subsidy would be right across rural Queensland if there is a need to travel and if accommodation is not available.”

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