Have you ever wondered how much rural patients pay to travel for cancer treatment?

Rosa lives with her husband Tony in sunny Mildura, 500km north-west of Melbourne. Earlier this year Rosa was shocked to be diagnosed with cancer and said that that the prospect of travelling to Melbourne for medical care was overwhelming. “I have lived in the country all my life and I was nervous about staying in the city, it is so busy, so far from home” shared Rosa.

Initially, Rosa and Tony were concerned about where to stay for six weeks while Rosa received treatment. Although their daughter lives in Melbourne, she is 20km from the city hospital and Tony did not feel confident driving in the heavy traffic everyday. When Rosa’s social worker mentioned MediStays, Rosa and Tony shared a ‘sense of relief” to find convenient accommodation within walking distance to the hospital. “We found a nice apartment close to the hospital. We could walk everywhere we needed to go, that was very important. I was very tired during treatment and it was easier for me…and Tony was relieved not needing to drive”.

In addition to the practical and emotional support she received, Rosa said that the financial burden of travelling away from home was eased when she found out about the Victorian Patient Transport Assistance Scheme (VPTAS). “The social worker also explained the VPTAS support, which was a big help for us” said Rosa.

Following six weeks of intensive treatment, Rosa and Tony are glad to be back in Mildura with their friends and family.  “I was lucky, I met beautiful people at the hospital and received the best care”.

 

Here are the details of Rosa’s travels:

  1. Flight to Melbourne for extra tests and scans. Stayed 1 night with her daughter and flew home the next day.
  2. Flight to Melbourne and stayed with daughter before early appointment the following morning to meet specialist doctors, receive test results and undergo radiation therapy planning. Flew home that afternoon.
  3. Drove to Melbourne with her husband, Tony, for six weeks of radiation therapy and chemotherapy at a public hospital. Stayed in commercial accommodation close to the hospital during this time.

*VPTAS: Victorian Patient Transport Assistance Scheme

Rosa’s case study reflects the approximate travel costs in Victoria and does not include the additional costs associated with travelling for medical care. Every person’s situation, expenses and reimbursements will vary depending on their personal circumstances and State or Territory PATS rebates. For further information about Government Support, Transport and Accommodation Subsidies, please visit www.medistays.com.au/financial-assistance or contact a social worker or medical professional for professional support and advice.