About: Patient Assisted Travel Scheme - WACHS Kimberley Patient Assisted Travel Scheme - WACHS Kimberley Broome 6725
Posted by PATS refund (as ),
I am writing to you to express my concern regarding the current approach for approval of Patient Assistant Travel Scheme (PATS), in particular for my child.
Over the years I have taken my child to numerous medical appointments, but was let down by the multidisciplinary care provided. Upon moving to the Kimberley I liaised with my child’s teachers, in particular the Deputy Principal who supported me to move forward and seek an outcome for my child once again. My child attended Kimberley Medical Practice in Broome and a referral to a Paediatrician at Broome Hospital was established. After a concerning event where my child wrote a letter stating they wished they weren't alive and expressing other behaviours, I immediately communicated with our GP. Our GP suggested PATCHES (The PATCHES model addresses a service gap) and called PATCHES to confirm the best way of commencing this avenue, we were offered an appointment a couple of weeks later at their Perth Clinic.
I submitted a request for PATS a week before the scheduled appointment. After not receiving a response I contacted PATS numerous times and spoke to a staff member, with no avail. This staff member explained that she will make contact with myself to advise whether or not travel would be approved for my child and myself. The day prior to the expected departure date for travel, I still had no response from PATS. I once again made contact and finally was notified that travel through PATS was not approved. Flight costs for Broome range from $500 to $1000 per person per sector (at that particular time of year). At that stage it was going to cost $2800 for my child and I to attend Perth on the dates required. Numerous flights became sold out after making the decision to self fund the airfares and prices were going up, so we had to extend our stay just to get lower airfare prices. Without financial support to pay for these flights from family my child would of not have received such high quality care from the service PATCHES provided due to the doctor's decision to not approve PATS even though this doctor has never evaluated or seen my child. In our view, the result of the application process for PATS failed to meet minimum standards of safety and quality in healthcare. The cost of the return airfare for my child and I was $1923.44. Flights would have been considerably cheaper if communication with PATS was improved.
I am very concerned for not only my child, but also other children that live in remote regions such as the Kimberley being denied access to high quality child development, disability and early intervention services. The current status of my child's mental health caused by ASD (autism spectrum disorder) is extremely concerning. Denying funded travel for a child in my child's situation to access such high quality service that PATCHES offers is a detriment to my child's health and I believe is a service that Broome Hospital is unable to meet in such a time frame.
A complaint was put though and an a request for the refund of airfares not only by myself but also from the head Pediatrician at PATCHES but we are yet to hear any response.
If nothing is resolved by the end of 2017 we will be taking action further. I believe a refund of airfares needs to be provided. In my opinion Broome Hospital is unable to offer continuous MDT (multidisciplinary team) care that a child with ASD requires.