Health | October 26, 2018

Critical health service to be boosted by Liberal Nationals

A Liberal Nationals Government will significantly increase Victorian Patient Transport Assistance Scheme (VPTAS) reimbursement rates to ease the cost of specialist healthcare for country Victorians.

An elected Liberal Nationals Government will increase VPTAS funding by $35.1 million to raise reimbursement rates for accommodation and mileage and speed up processing times for claims, improving the lives of the 30,000 Victorians who use the scheme.

Lowan residents who have to travel more than 100kms one-way or 500kms a week for specialist medical treatment are eligible for financial assistance under the scheme.

Under a Liberal Nationals Government nightly accommodation support will increase from $45 to $60 and the per kilometre reimbursement rate will rise from 21 to 25 cents.

Patients and carers will be reimbursed faster with 10 extra staff based in Ballarat dedicated to helping patients efficiently through the system. 

Minimum and cumulative distance thresholds, stepped payments for long-stay patients and the inclusion of patients needing to travel to clinical trials or for emergency care will also be considered.

The Nationals Member for Lowan and Shadow Minister for Country Health, Emma Kealy is aware of local patients who have delayed treatment options due to travel and accommodation costs.

“Its hard enough having to battle a serious illness, let alone having to deal with the additional financial burden of travelling long distances to receive specialist media advice and treatment,” Ms Kealy said.

“It’s a story I’ve heard many times which is why I’ve actively lobbied for an increase to VPTAS funding to help relieve some of the financial pressure on local people trying to overcome their serious illness.

“I’m so proud the Liberal Nationals will deliver a better deal on healthcare for the people living furthest from Melbourne who need it the most by increasing the financial support provided to reimburse patients travel and accommodation costs through the VPTAS.

An elected Liberal Nationals Government will provide extra financial support for patients so country people can see the specialist they need, when they need it, without worrying about the cost of getting there.”

The announcement comes on the back of a Liberal Nationals Government commitment to provide an additional $10,000 per year for two years to Lowan’s four Bush Nursing Centres while a review into their funding model takes place

Further information on the current VPTAS scheme and claim forms are available by visiting or by telephoning 1300 737 073.

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