Highway to health: better access for rural, regional and remote patients

Highway to health: better access for rural, regional and remote patients

20 September 2007

© Commonwealth of Australia 2007
ISBN 978-0-642-71865-5

View the report as a single document - (PDF 616KB)

View the report as separate downloadable parts:

Membership of the Committee (PDF 21KB)
Recommendations (PDF 21KB)
Chapter 1 - Introduction (PDF 88KB)

Terms of Reference
Conduct of the inquiry
Background to the inquiry
  The Broader Context – Australia's health care system
  Health care and travel assistance
  Other forms of patient travel assistance
  Current arrangements – Patient assisted travel schemes (PATS)
The call to improve the operation of Patient Assisted Travel Schemes
Outline of the report

Chapter 2 - Health service delivery: Regional, rural and remote Australia (PDF 118KB)

Regional, rural, remote: demography
Measures of health status in rural and remote areas
Access to services
  Supply of hospital services
  Workforce shortages
  Diminishing services in regional, rural and remote areas
An increasing demand for PATS
  Future pressures on PATS
  A changed operating environment

Chapter 3 - Pats design and administration (PDF 112KB)

The application process
  Inconsistent interpretation and application
  Acceptance of recommendations
Eligibility issues
  Distance threshold
  Restrictions on referrals
  Type of transport
  Appeals processes
Subsidy levels
  Motor vehicle rates
  Accommodation rates
  Subsidy of other costs
  Restrictions and co-payments
  Delays in reimbursements

Chapter 4 - Patient support and cross border issues (PDF 56KB)

Patient support
  Women and children
  Inconsistencies in the application of escort guidelines
  Improving access to escorts
Cross-border issues
  Differences across the States and Territories
  Interstate arrangements
  Patient choice and interstate treatment
  PATS and interstate travellers

Chapter 5 - Special needs groups (PDF 99KB)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
  Cultural safety
  Transport infrastructure
  Continuity of care
  No Shows
  A separate program for Indigenous Australians?
Ante-natal care
Older people
Patients with chronic illnesses

Chapter 6 - Improving and integrating services (PDF 53KB)

The role of charities and not-for-profit organisations
Improving communication
  Awareness, marketing and promotion
Other related health initiatives
  Medical Specialist Outreach Assistance Program (MSOAP)

Chapter 7 - Reforming patient assisted travel schemes (PDF 107KB)

A National Approach
  National consistency and uniformity
  A case for national standards
  Monitoring and reporting
  Who should administer a national approach?
Expanding PATS
  Ante-natal and post-natal care
  Allied health services and dental care
  Screening services
  Primary medical care
  Procedural and specialised services undertaken by GPs
  Clinical trials
  Other services
  An expanded scheme – government responses
A path to reform

Appendix 1 - List of public submissions and tabled documents authorised for publication by the Committee (PDF 28KB)
Appendix 2 - Witnesses who appeared before the Committee at public hearings (PDF 22KB)

For further information, contact:

Committee Secretary
Senate Standing Committees on Community Affairs
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: +61 2 6277 3515
Fax: +61 2 6277 5829
Email: community.affairs.sen@aph.gov.au