LNP slams CQ patients' subsidies

QUEENSLAND Health paid out $6.8 million in the last financial year to CQ patients required to travel to Brisbane and other major regional centres to receive medical treatment.

That's one tenth of what the Federal Government is spending to establish a cancer unit at Rockhampton Hospital.

Opposition health spokesman Mark McArdle said the amount paid by the government under the Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme across Queensland had increased 9.5% on the previous years.

And Central Queenslanders were relying on the system more than anyone.

Figures reveal sick patients in Central Queensland were forced to travel more than sixmillion kilometres by car and stay in accommodation for more than 45,000 nights.

“Bligh and Labor seem to think that the significant increase in the cost of the PTSS every year is something to crow about … far from it, it simply shows the availability of specialised medical services in Rockhampton, Gladstone and Emerald and surrounding areas is deteriorating,” Mr McArdle said.

“Not only is this an inconvenience to patents forced to travel it impacts on residents of Brisbane by adding to waiting lists.

“The LNP acknowledges some specialist medical services cannot be delivered in Central Queensland and are therefore committed to boosting the level of assistance to sick patients needing to travel.”

He said it was wrong for Labor to be giving sick people just $30 a night towards the cost of accommodation in Brisbane or another major regional centre.

“It has been so long since Labor has increased the accommodation subsidy that in 2010 it will barely get you a bed in a dorm in a hostel,” Mr McArdle said.

“The LNP will unveil the details of its reforms to the PTSS before the 2012 election, but sick Queenslanders travelling for medical care can be confident that they will receive more assistance under the LNP than they will under Labor.

“Clearly Labor is more interested in building up the Queensland Health bureaucracy than providing a decent level of assistance to patients needing to travel for health care”.

CQ subsidy

Money Queensland Health paid out in the 2009-10 financial year on the Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme:

Accommodation $1,383,881

Fuel $998,198

Airfare $3,875,758

Bus $44,939

Rail $179,584

Escorts $340,877

Total $6,823,237

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