26 September 2023

Upgraded PATS to bring doctors closer

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The Minister for Health and Wellbeing has announced that the Patient Assistance Transport Scheme (PATS) has been increased for the first time in more than 20 years.

The Minister, Chris Picton, said PATS provided financial assistance for transport and accommodation costs imposed on people needing to travel more than 100km to specialist healthcare services which were not available locally.

Mr Picton said the increase was the first significant one since 2001.

“This is great news for the many thousands of people who access the scheme now or may need to travel for medical treatment in future,” Mr Picton said.

He said the change would double the fuel subsidy from 16c per kilometre to 32c per kilometre for eligible medical appointments.

He said doubling the fuel subsidy – which took effect from 1 January – meant people travelling from Port Augusta to Adelaide for example, who claim a refund through PATS, would now be entitled to about $200 for a return trip, up from $100 previously.

The Minister said that last year more than 13,000 South Australians received financial support through PATS.

Acting Executive Director of Rural Support Service in SA Health, Hendrika Meyer said the increase would give a helping hand to more people needing to travel to vital medical appointments.

“With the rising costs of living and increasing fuel costs, we know how important this subsidy is to people living in regional and remote communities,” Dr Meyer said.

Mr Picton said the subsidy may also provide additional support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People who travel to specialist appointments and carers who are approved to take patients to appointments.

He said people living in remote areas are encouraged to check their eligibility and apply for subsidies by submitting a claim on the PATS website or a paper form available online or at GP clinics.

More information about PATS can be accessed at this PS News link.

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