"PATS - Travel, accommodation and food expenses."

About: Patient Assisted Travel Scheme - WACHS Midwest

(as the patient),

We have had to travel a couple of times because of family health issues. On one of those occasions we had to stay in Perth for a number of months. The Carnarvon PATS (Patient Assisted Transport Scheme), told us they would find us some accommodation while we stayed in Perth. The accommodation was filthy and we didn't want to stay there. Plus, they only paid for a bit of the accommodation.

We went and stayed with family. I believe we were supposed to be paid $20 per day to help with food and other expenses. Yet we traveled and paid for our own expenses.

We have spoken to staff at the Carnarvon PATS service and they told us that the Geraldton PATS office provides refunds. We then traveled to Geraldton where they told us that this information is wrong and the Carnarvon office should provide our refund. I don't have any complaints about the Geraldton office, only the Carnarvon office.

We were told by the Carnarvon PATS office that it would take 4 months for us to get a refund. It is now over 4 months and we have not received a refund. I don't believe they answer their phones. One day I spent all day ringing every hour and nobody answered.

On another occasion my child and I had to go down for an important appointment because my child also suffers from a significant health issue. But Carnarvon PATS would only pay for one parent to travel with our child. We think both parents should have been able to attend such an important appointment for our child.

We are not happy with the Carnarvon PATS office.

Responses

Response from Jeffrey Calver, Regional Director, Executive Services, WACHS- Midwest

Dear Covering expenses

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with the Patient Assisted Travel Scheme (PATS). Firstly I would like to apologise that your experience with PATS has not been a positive one or reflective of the high level of professional, quality care that WA Country Health Service aims to provide. PATS provides a subsidy to help reduce the out-of-pocket travel expenses experienced by people living in country Western Australia when they need access to specialist medical services not available locally. Access to the PATS subsidy is dependent on meeting an eligibility criteria and may not cover all travel-related costs.

In order to address your concerns and assist with your PATS claim, I would like to encourage you to contact Tamara Sweeney, Operations Manager Gascoyne on 9941 0300 or alternatively Elyshia Lanza-Cariccio, Support Officer on 9956 2291 or CES.WACHS-Midwest@health.wa.gov.au. We would welcome contact and the opportunity discuss your concerns and improve our service going forward.

Again, I would like to thank you for sharing your story on Patient Opinion, your feedback is important to us and allows us the opportunity to improve and better meet patient needs.

Warm Regards

Jeff Calver

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