The Patient Assistance Transport Assistance Scheme (PATS)

Northern Territory patient and carers guide to claiming accommodation subsidies

What is NT PATS?

The Northern Territory Patient Assistance Transport Scheme (PATS) subsidises the cost of travel and accommodation for residents of the Northern Territory who need to travel long distances for specialist medical care.

Subsidies are provided to help cover the costs of staying in accommodation close to hospitals. Patients can also claim travel costs including private car and public transport costs.

PATS supports residents of NT travelling to hospitals in the Top End and other States. Interstate patients travelling to hospitals in the NT must apply to the scheme in their home State. 

Eligibility Criteria

In the Northern Territory, the main eligibility criteria for PATS is distance.  Distance is calculated from the patient’s home address to the location where specialist medical treatment takes place.  The distance eligibility criteria is:

People travelling more than 200km from home to medical care (one way), or

more than 400km per week for oncology or renal treatments.


You also need to be a resident of the Northern Territory.

You must be travelling to specialist medical or dental care that is not available closer to home.

Young girl and elderly women utilising a notebook to organise hospital accommodation with MediStays
Medical staff utilising a pen and paper

Who decides if I am eligible to claim PATS

Your medical specialist needs to confirm you are travelling for specialist medical care. The doctor must be approved to practice as a specialist under Medicare Australia and their details must be included on the form. The specialist or an authorised officer, such as a hospital social worker, practice manager, receptionist or nurse may sign your form.

Please ask your GP, medical specialist or staff at the clinic to assist you with this process. You can also contact the PATS Office directly for further information. Once your form is submitted to the PATS Office, they will process your application and confirm your eligibility and reimbursements.

Please note, MediStays does not approve your application. 

How much is the accommodation subsidy

The subsidy is the same for travel within and outside NT and varies depending on your situation:


Patients not admitted to hospital may be eligible to claim up to $60.00/night (inc GST) accommodation subsidy.

Patients travelling with an approved escort

Patients not admitted to hospital who are travelling with an approved escort may be eligible to claim up to $120.00/night (inc GST).


If you are an approved escort for a patient admitted to hospital you can claim an accommodation subsidy of up to $60.00/night (inc GST).

Medical practitioners working together

When to contact MediStays?

If you are eligible to apply for PATS, contact MediStays to book your accommodation and link us with the NT PATS Office. We can then arrange all payments with PATS directly – peace of mind for you. 

Can I apply for PATS online?

Please contact NT PATS to find out more. 

Other frequently asked questions

Yes, MediStays are delighted to bulk-bill your PATS.

Please contact us to discuss this option prior to booking at, by calling our office 1300 085 036 or link us directly with the NT PATS office. 

Every property on the MediStays website can be booked for your accommodation and PATS claim.

No, PATS entitles you to claim all accommodation costs, including one-night stays.

However, you may need to pay the first night stay of each hospital admission (unless you hold a concession card).


As escort is a person approved to travel with the patient. This may include your husband or wife or primary carer. The parents of children under 18 years of age and escorts for people with a disability receive automatic approval as escorts.

When the patient is a child under the age of 18 and has a condition that is considered life threatening two escorts (usually both parents) can be approved.  

A life-threatening condition is defined as “any illness or condition developed in childhood whereby the child is likely (probability of greater than 50 per cent) to die prematurely.  It includes life‐threatening disabilities as well as life threatening illnesses.

You may be eligible to claim $20/night per person subsidy. 

You must claim the subsidy for the state or territory where you live (not the location of your treating hospital). 

As stated on the PATS website, patients may not be eligible if they are:

  • travelling on holidays or business and live in another state. This includes fly-in fly-out or temporary workers who are not permanent NT residents.
  • eligible to claim assistance from a third party (e.g. WorkCover, Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Motor Accident Insurance Commission, or some NDIS packages and private health insurance). Partial PATS subsidies may be approved if the third party financial assistance is less than the PATS.
  • seeing a general practitioner, or using general dental services or allied health services, except as part of specialist treatment
  • transported, using urgent or non-urgent transport, arranged by NT Health e.g. emergency ambulance. (A subsidy may be approved for the return journey)
  • seeking a second opinion without a medical referral to an eligible specialist service
  • taking part in clinical trials and experimental procedures.
  • overseas travel to access specialist services is not covered by PATS.

If your accommodation costs are more than the PATS, you will need to pay some out of pocket expenses.

For example, if a patient and escort stay in accommodation close to hospital at $140/night they will pay $20/night accommodation. PATS will subsidise the remaining $120/night.

No, there is no co-payment required.

No, there are no concessions. 

Yes, if you are an approved escort you are eligible to claim the accommodation subsidy. For example, you may drive your husband to the hospital and book accommodation with MediStays until he is discharged. You are eligible to claim $60/night accommodation subsidy in this situation.

Yes, you may be able to. If PATS has approved your travel interstate, the PATS may cover public transport costs from your nearest local hospital to the location of the treating specialist.  Travel from the transport terminal to your residential address cannot be claimed. If travelling by air, the most economical airfare should be booked.

Yes, the PATS covers petrol costs. If you travel in a private car, you are eligible to claim 20 cents per kilometre. Google maps is used to calculate the distance from your home address to the hospital/clinic address. You do not need to provide tax invoices for petrol costs.

Contact PATS  

PATS Office:  Alice Springs Hospital 889517846

PATS Office:  Royal Darwin Hospital 889228135

If you are eligible to apply for PATS, please submit your signed form and MediStays tax invoice to the PATS office when your stay has finished.

For long stays, you may also apply in advance or in regular intervals. 

How MediStays can help…

Checking your eligibility after booking

When you book accommodation with MediStays, you can choose to tell us your postcode. This enables us to guide you on your eligibility for PATS and send you the link for the relevant PATS approval.

Which MediStays accommodation is eligible?

All properties listed on the MediStays website are eligible – simply book on our website and submit your MediStays tax invoice with your application form. Alternatively, arrange payment directly with MediStays and SA PATS.

Are you a patient or carer travelling for medical care?

Our Care Navigators can assist with accommodation and funding support.