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Government's policy of purchasing services from private hospitals and patient travel

Mrs Armitage (Launceston) to ask the Honourable the Leader of the Government -

With regard to the Government’s policy of purchasing services from private hospitals, including from Victoria with particular reference to patient travel -

(1) (a) What travel costs for patients and their families will be provided; and (b) have these costs been factored in?

(2) (a) Will patient travel be by commercial flights; and (b) if not, will there be priority over existing transfers undertaken by the one aircraft contracted to Ambulance Tasmania?

Answer from the Leader of Government, Dr Vanessa Goodwin:

(1) The Government has allocated Commonwealth funding of $1 million towards patient related travel costs. Travel arrangements and costs will depend on contractor location and where the patients have consented to be treated. Funding for travel will, in many cases, exceed current Patient Transport Scheme provisions in recognition of the nature of this programme and the desire to get as many long waiting patients treated as possible. Funds are available under this programme to support patients, and, where clinically indicated, a carer to travel interstate.

(2) Yes, these costs are factored in to the Improving Hospital Services in Tasmania National Partnership Agreement Action Plan of which this project is a part.

(3) The contract specifications include travel on commercial flights based on a ‘best fare' basis. The contractor is responsible for providing ‘non inpatient' travel and accommodation negotiated with the hospitals and Department. The Department will reimburse the contractor for costs incurred for the patient and carer.

(4) No, the majority of surgery will not involve non-ambulatory inpatient transfer. No impact is anticipated on Ambulance Tasmania and their existing aeromedical patient transfers”.

Answer provided Thursday May 28, 2015

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