Patients in and around the Lismore electorate will benefit by an average of $100 following the NSW Liberals & Nationals announcement to boost the Isolated Patient Transport and Accommodation Assistance Scheme (IPTAAS), Shadow Minister for Health Jillian Skinner and Nationals Member for Lismore Thomas George said today. The IPTAAS budget will be increased by 50 per cent, injecting an extra $28 million into the scheme over the first four years of a NSW Liberals & Nationals Government.

"This is a huge win for Lismore electorate patients who are forced to travel long distances to get the health care they need," Mrs Skinner said.

"A typical patient who makes an IPTAAS claim will receive on average an extra $100 towards their travel and accommodation costs.

"This positive, practical plan from the NSW Liberals & Nationals will improve the quality of life for those patients from the Northern Rivers district who need to travel long distances and stay close to the medical treatment centres they need to access.

"Greater access will mean better outcomes for Northern Rivers' district patients and healthier rural and regional communities.

"A NSW Liberals & Nationals Government would also review the IPTAAS administration fee, the distance eligibility criteria (focusing on patients with a chronic disease), parking arrangements and paperwork complexity.

"Labor's administration fee saw some patients spend more money on bureaucracy than they would get back via the IPTAAS allowance. In Government, the NSW Liberals & Nationals would review this fee with a view to making it fairer so it does not stop people claiming, or even seeking treatment in the first place.

"The scheme will also be reviewed with a focus on patients with chronic diseases who may fall outside the current eligibility requirements.

"After 16 years of Labor neglecting regional and rural patients, a NSW Liberals & Nationals Government will give Northern Rivers' patients a fair go.

"There is strong evidence improving patient travel schemes' leads to better patient care as well as improving the health of communities over the longer term."

Mr George said local patients would benefit from the increased allowance.

"Many patients in the Northern Rivers travel long distances either into Lismore Base Hospital or to Sydney to receive life-saving medical care," Mr George said.

"The NSW Liberals & Nationals will provide more financial help to ensure they can better access the medical care they need.

"Local patients have told me Labor's scheme is too bureaucratic, too mean and just doesn't go far enough in terms of covering the out-of-pocket costs families endure.

"I want to improve the quality of life for patients in the Lismore electorate.

"I'm thrilled Barry, Andrew and Jillian have listened to the concerns of local patients and acted.

"Only a NSW Liberals & Nationals Government can deliver better patient care for families in our region," Mr George said.

Contact Details:

Office: 55 Carrington Street  LISMORE
Postal: PO Box 52  LISMORE  NSW  2480
Telephone: 1800 336 166 or 02 6621 3624
Facsimile: 02 6622 1403  Email: lismore@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Authorised by Thomas George MP. Funded using Parliamentary entitlements.