The Health News – 3 March 2014

Overview

  • In South Australia, health minister Jack Snelling has said if the Labor government are reelected they will put $9m toward a commission into mental health.
  • In WA, the parliamentary member for Moore, Shane Love, hopes an enquiry into the patient assisted travel scheme will address some serious issues.
  • In QLD, a parliamentary committee will begin an enquiry into the effectiveness of telehealth services in regional parts of the state.

Health News on HPR.

Mental health support promised on SA election campaign trail – no author listed
In South Australia, health minister Jack Snelling has said if the Labor government are reelected they will put $9m toward a commission into mental health. The party has also promised $200k of yearly funding to Lifeline to aid in training more telephone service volunteers. The  health minister says the funding will help to support constructive community work, and said “Up til now the funding for Lifeline the government’s provided I think at best could be described as being on an ad-hoc basis and this $200,000 every year will give Uniting [Communities] the sort of funding certainty they need to keep doing the great work.”  But the Liberals have charged the Labor government with being slow to act. Liberal leader Steven Marshall said “The Government has been shamed into this announcement. They’ve had no support for Lifeline in the past. The Liberal Party is being generous up-front with this area. We will be releasing our mental health policy in the coming days. It’s an important reform and it’s long overdue in SA.” The Liberals have committed $150,000 of yearly funding to Lifeline if elected, as well as $1.6m over 4 years for a disability unit in Adelaide, and say they will make announcements on mental health policy in the near future.

Inquiry launched into Patient Assisted Travel Scheme – no author listed
In WA, the parliamentary member for Moore, Shane Love, hopes an enquiry into the patient assisted travel scheme will address some serious issues. Mr Love said “There are a number of people who, for various reasons, don’t qualify for PATS. We don’t get the right choice of where they may need to go. Also, the level of funding may not be sufficient to cover their costs and that becomes a barrier to them getting those medical services.” The PATS subsidises travel for patients who must journey more than 100km from home for a medial appointment. Of the enquiry Mr Love said “I think that it will highlight two things – first of all how important PATS is to regional people and secondly, that there are some issues for people in gaining the benefits available under PATS.” Submissions to the enquiry by the public are open until May 16.

Inquiry to review telehealth service success – no author listed
In QLD, a parliamentary committee will begin an enquiry into the effectiveness of telehealth services in regional parts of the state. The Rural Telehealth Service began in February last year, and provides a video link between regional patients and city-based doctors. The Health and Community Services Committee will visit key telehealth service locations around the state to measure the success of the intiative, its impact on patients, and the financial sustainability of the scheme.

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