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AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (WA)
The AMA (WA) has welcomed the Standing Committee on Public Administration’s report on the Inquiry into WA’s Patient Assisted Travel Scheme, but expressed concern as to how the State Government will fund the recommendations made.
“The Standing Committee and its Chair, the Hon. Liz Behjat should be congratulated for its excellent work on a matter of great importance to remote and regional communities in Western Australia,” AMA (WA) President Dr Michael Gannon said today.
“The Association is proud to have been a part of this process, providing both a written statement and evidence before the Committee.
“The Committee listened in detail to more than 100 submissions received from individuals, government departments and organisations, and has set in motion much-needed changes to the Scheme.
“For example, the fuel and accommodation subsidies in place are not in line with the actual costs incurred by patients. The Committee has acknowledged this and recommends that the current subsidies be increased and indexed annually to lessen the burden placed on patients.
“The expansion of the Dental program, the increased subsidies for women travelling to give birth and the reduction of the 16-hour threshold for flight approval are all welcomed.
“However, we are concerned that the State Government will not be able to find the funding necessary to make the recommendations a reality.
“We have seen cuts to the health budget in real terms, and while the State Government continues to focus on ambitious building projects in Perth, patients in regional WA are desperate for fairly basic healthcare.
“We hope that the State Government accepts the cross party Committee’s recommendations and implements them as soon as possible,” Dr Gannon said.