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Notice given 27 March 2007

*2  Senator Adams: To move—That the following matter be referred to the Community Affairs Committee for inquiry and report by 20 September 2007:

The operation and effectiveness of Patient Assisted Travel Schemes, including:

(a) the need for greater national consistency and uniformity of Patient Assisted Travel Schemes across jurisdictions, especially the procedures used to determine eligibility for travel schemes covering patients, their carers, escorts and families; the level and forms of assistance provided; and reciprocal arrangements for inter-state patients and their carers;

(b) the need for national minimum standards to improve flexibility for rural patient access to specialist health services throughout Australia;

(c) the extent to which local and cross-border issues are compromising the effectiveness of existing Patient Assisted Travel Schemes in Australia, in terms of patient and health system outcomes;

(d) the current level of utilisation of schemes and identification of mechanisms to ensure that schemes are effectively marketed to all eligible patients and monitored to inform continuous improvement;

 

 (e) variations in patient outcomes between metropolitan and rural, regional and remote patients and the extent to which improved travel and accommodation support would reduce these inequalities;

(f) the benefit to patients in having access to a specialist who has the support of a multidisciplinary team and the option to seek a second opinion;

(g) the relationship between initiatives in e-Health and Patient Assisted Travel Schemes;

(h) the feasibility and desirability of extending Patient Assisted Travel Schemes to all treatments listed on the Medicare Benefits Schedule Enhanced Primary Care items such as allied health and dental treatment and fitting of artificial limbs; and

(i) the role of charity and non-profit organisations in the provision of travel and accommodation assistance to patients.