Member for Narungga Fraser Ellis MP was thrilled with the news this week the State Government has doubled the Patient Assistance Transport Scheme fuel subsidy, effective immediately.
“This was brilliant news as way back in June I implored the government to recognise the existing rate of 16 cents per kilometre was nowhere near covering the cost of people in the Narungga electorate filling their cars to travel to Adelaide and back for health services they can’t access locally.
“The low fuel subsidy has been causing significant distress to locals, especially retired pensioners on a fixed income who were fearing not being able to afford the cost of the trip to Adelaide but realising that medically they had no choice but to find the money somehow.
“Many locals will be breathing a sigh of relief the PATS fuel subsidy has finally been increased, and doubled to 32 cents per kilometre”, Mr Ellis said.
Whilst welcoming this news, Mr Ellis said he will continue to push for further improvements to the PATS scheme.
“I would really like to see more autonomy on choosing the specialists that rural people can use for treatment. So often PATS claims are denied because local constituents are deemed to have bypassed an available service when the reason they’ve done so is because the waiting list to see the local visiting specialist has been months and they fear waiting for treatment will threaten their health. It is a very difficult choice to make”, Mr Ellis said.
“The fact there are long waiting lists must be taken into consideration by PATS assessment teams in my view and I will continue to advocate for this change, and likewise for improved local health facilities and services in order to reduce the need for rural people to travel out of their local region to access the health care they need”, Mr Ellis said.