Lismore MP Thomas George.
Lismore MP Thomas George.

Isolated patient scheme simplified

A SIMPLIFICATION of the state scheme assisting remote medical patients with travel and accommodation has been welcomed by Lismore MP Thomas George.

The changes to the Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme will take effect on 1 January next year and is set to complement a raft of changes made to the scheme sine the O'Farrell government came to office.

Changes:

  • The current six month deadline for patients to submit claims will be extended to 12 months;
  • A broader definition of 'authorised representative' - a person who can sign the application form on behalf of the referring practitioner or specialist - will be introduced;
  • The requirement for patients who have private health insurance fund to prove that they cannot claim travel and/or accommodation benefits from their fund will be abolished;
  • Referring practitioners will no longer be required to complete his/her section of the application form, except in limited circumstances;
  • A shortened and less complicated application form will be introduced.

"The NSW Government is continuing to improve (the scheme) after increasing subsidies and simplifying the application form and adding an online application capability earlier this year," Mr George said.

"Last year, the NSW Government announced a significant boost of $28 million, over four years, to (the scheme). The increase in funding means a 30% boost in accommodation subsidies and a 25% boost in petrol subsidies.

"During the 2011/12 financial year 5010 patients and 3364 carers submitted claim forms within the Northern NSW Local Health District," Mr George said.

Mr George in welcoming these changes said these will make it simpler for patients and families and carers using the scheme.

"Since becoming the Member for Lismore, I have highlighted on many occasions the high level of dissatisfaction and the many complaints my constituents have had with (the scheme), so these changes are welcomed," Mr George said.



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