Patient travel cost pledge a healthy start
THE Rural Doctors Association of Queensland has welcomed the LNP pledge to double travel and accommodation subsidies for rural and regional Queenslanders.
RDAQ president, Emerald's Dr Ewen McPhee, responded to the commitment to double the travel subsidy from 15 cents per km to 30 cents, and double the accommodation subsidy from $30 to $60 a person for patients forced to travel for treatment and medical care.
'The tyranny of distance places significant financial barriers to accessing specialist care in the cities. This is recognition of the burden faced by rural and regional Queenslanders," Dr McPhee said.
"As more services become difficult to access, such as birthing services, people are finding that they have to travel further to get the care that city folk take for granted."
LNP Member for Gregory Vaughan Johnson said some patients were deferring treatment because of the costs associated with travelling to metropolitan centres for health services.
"The current 20-year Labor Government has repeatedly ignored the cries for help from western Queenslanders, refusing to increase the scheme despite spiralling costs," he said.
Dr McPhee urged for increased government spending on medical infrastructure in rural and regional Queensland in a bid to reduce unnecessary travel to access health services.
"The money saved on keeping maternity services and other minor surgeries close to rural areas could then be spent on increasing the subsidy for those who have no choice but to go to a larger facility for specialist, higher-level treatment," he said.