Across Australia, Victoria has the most recently reviewed patient travel assistance scheme, however provides the third lowest subsidy for accommodation and the fourth lowest subsidy for petrol. In July 2017 the VPTAS was reviewed and the reimbursement rates rose slightly (from 20cents to 21cents for petrol and from $41 to $45 per night for accommodation).
Cancer Council Victoria coordinates the VPTAS Alliance, which comprises more than 30 cancer, chronic disease and patient support agencies, all with a strong interest in supporting people who need to travel for treatment. The Alliance was established in 2013 through a series of roundtable discussions.
In 2014, the Alliance successfully lobbied the Victorian government to commit to improving the VPTAS, which resulted in the announcement of additional funding and commitment to review the VPTAS biannually. The alliance is now advocating for further improvements to the scheme - mainly increases to the reimbursements, changes to the distance thresholds and improvements to the administration and promotion of the scheme.
In 2015 the Alliance developed a flyer that was non-brand specific which aimed to promote awareness of the VPTAS. The aim of the poster is to raise awareness of the support that the Victorian government provides to regional and rural Victorians who need to travel for specialist medical treatment. If you would like a copy of the poster for your organisation, you can download a copy here
Patients can find application forms on the DHHS website: https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/hospitals-and-health-services/rural-health/vptas-how-to-apply
An approved medical specialist or authorised officer must sign the claim form. The costs of public transport are also reimbursed, if the eligibility criteria is met: a person must be travelling for specialist medical treatment, from over 100km from treating centre.
Cancer Council Victoria have a fact sheet you can order for free which explains the VPTAS: http://www.cancervic.org.au/downloads/CISS_factsheets/Patient-transport.pdf