The Patient Assistance Transport Scheme (PATS) is a lifeline for regional health care. It provides transport and accommodation rebates to patients and carers who need to travel over 100km each way to critical health services that are not available in their area. Examples of this may be to attend chemotherapy or radiology appointments.
In May 2022, I called on the South Australian government to review the state’s PATS rebate as it no longer reflected real costs incurred by regional patients. People travelling from country areas were being left deeply out of pocket for vital health care services. In July 2022, the South Australian government dismissed my call, claiming it had "no current plans to change the PATS scheme."
But after my continued advocacy for country South Australians, there has been a complete U-turn from the SA government.
The Patient Assistance Transport Scheme rebate has been doubled from $0.16/km to $0.32/km in South Australia after insisting the state Health Minister to review the rebate to reflect current inflation.
People living in our regions should not be out of pocket when accessing lifesaving medical care. As a One Nation representative, I will always advocate for rural communities, so they are not left behind.