Walsh pledges help for patients

By Campaspe News

THE costs of accessing specialist health care could be eased for regional Victorians if a Liberal Nationals state government is elected, with the Coalition promising significant increases in reimbursement rates for the Victorian Patient Transport Assistance Scheme (VPTAS).

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

Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh said the policy recognised country people had been severely disadvantaged by the spiraling costs of travel and accommodation to see medical or dental specialists.

“Under a Liberal Nationals government the VPTAS nightly accommodation support will increase from $45 to $60 and the cents per kilometre reimbursement rate will rise from 21 cents to 25 cents,’’ he said.

“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.”

Mr Walsh also said the coalition would seek to enhance access to the scheme.