Costs cripple pensioner
LYN STOKES lost her husband to a heart attack three years ago, and now the 63-year-old mother is battling to ensure she doesn’t lose her son.
The Mount Morgan resident is the full-time carer of her 40-year-old, intellectually impaired son, Calven. who suffers from dilated cardiomyopathy – a precursor to heart failure, hyperlipidemia and has recently been diagnosed with renal impairment.
Calven’s medical condition requires visits to the Prince Charles Hospital twice a month.
He is currently being assessed for a place on the heart transplant list.
After shelling out nearly $20,000 in the last few years travelling back and forth to Brisbane, it’s becoming all too much for the aged pensioner, who put her Mount Morgan home on the market six months ago to fund the travel but hasn’t been able to sell.
The State Government covers the cost of the return airfares, however Lyn is only given a $30 a night rebate for accommodation, a far cry from the $125 a night cost on average for a room in Brisbane.
Lyn and Calven utilised the Red Cross rooms at the hospital, but since their closure a few years ago she has battled with the costs of travel and accommodation in the state’s capital.
“The Red Cross rooms were great, but now that they’ve closed there’s nothing out there for people like us to use,” she said.
State Member for Mirani Ted Malone said the costs for regional Queenslanders travelling to Brisbane for treatment would be revised if the Liberal and National Party took office.
“This has been a major issue for many years and this case just highlights the impost it puts on people that have to travel to access specialist’s treatment in major hospitals,” he said.
“It is a matter of discrimination against people that live in regional Queensland. The LNP in government will revise these payments.”
However, district chief executive officer for the Central Queensland Health Service Maree Geraghty said the State Government had been improving patient access to specialist medical services and had spent approximately $45 million on the Patient Transport Subsidy Scheme in 2009/2010.
She said that Queensland spends more on the Patient Transport Subsidy Scheme than any other state or territory.
“However, there will still be cases where patients do have to travel to access highly specialised services at the state’s largest hospitals – Queensland is no different to any other state in that regard,” Ms Geraghty said.
While Lyn admits that her savings are drying up, she has little choice but to continue making the bi-monthly trek to Brisbane.