Mary Wooldridge MP

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Liberal Nationals boost support for regional patients

Monday, October 22, 2018

A Liberal Nationals Government will ease the cost of accessing specialist healthcare for tens of thousands of people living in rural and regional Victoria with significant increases in the reimbursement rates for the Victorian Patient Transport Assistance Scheme (VPTAS). 

An elected Liberal Nationals Government will increase VPTAS funding by $35.1 million to raise reimbursement rates for accommodation and mileage, provide funding for future population growth in our regional cities and towns and speed up claims processing times, improving the lives of the 30,000 Victorians who use the scheme.

Victorians who have to travel more than 100kms one way or 500kms a week for specialist medical treatment are eligible for financial assistance under the VPTAS scheme which assists with the cost of traveling to and staying near the treatment.

Under a Liberal Nationals Government the nightly accommodation support will increase from $45 to $60 and the cents per kilometre reimbursement rate will rise from 21 cents to 25 cents. 

Daniel Andrews and Labor have lost control of the cost of living with Victorians paying more than ever for power bills and housing, the Liberal Nationals will ease the squeeze on cost of living pressures when Victorians need it most.

A Liberal Nationals Government will also make sure patients and carers are reimbursed faster by employing more staff to halve reimbursement turnaround times.  

The 10 extra staff dedicated to helping patients efficiently through the system and improving reimbursement times will be located in Ballarat.  

A Liberal Nationals Government will also undertake further investigation into the scheme to enhance access, including considering the minimum and cumulative distance thresholds, stepped payments for long-stay patients and inclusion of patients who travel to access clinical trials or require emergency care. 

The Liberal Nationals are committed to decentralising Victoria and encouraging growth in our regional areas; but to do that we need to ensure that all Victorians can access top quality healthcare.

Comments attributable to Leader of the Opposition, Matthew Guy:

“This policy is about ensuring regional Victorians can access the best healthcare and helping them with cost of living pressures for travel and accommodation.

This will give regional patients more choice and help them get back in control of their cost of living pressures from travelling and accommodation.  

Daniel Andrews and regional Labor MPs have ignored country Victoria and been too focused on Melbourne.  

Only a Liberal Nationals Government will give regional patients more control and choice over their health treatment.”

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Health, Mary Wooldridge:

“This commitment demonstrates the Liberal Nationals belief that all Victorians should be able to access high quality healthcare no matter where they live.

Country Victorians are feeling cost of living pressures because the Andrews Labor Government has lost control of the economy so this extra funding will help those who have to travel for health care defray some of those costs.   

We can’t continue with the situation that has occurred under Daniel Andrews and Labor where some country patients are opting for less effective health treatments when costs make the travel for the best care unfeasible for them.

Every new job is important and these 10 new jobs for Ballarat are a small but important part of decentralising our state and supporting jobs in our regional cities.”  

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Country Health, Emma Kealy:

“Regional Victorians who are sick and need to travel long distances for life-saving treatment already have enough on their plate, with transport costs adding to the pressures of a skyrocketing cost-of-living.

An elected Liberal Nationals Government will help relieve the burden with extra support for patient travel so country people can see the specialist they need, when they need it, without worrying about the cost of getting there.”

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