However, the PATS scheme will be subject to an overhaul following the announcement of a Parliamentary committee inquiry into the subsidy last week that could eventually see Bindoon and Gingin patients benefit.
Bindoon has no local hospital and is a 95km drive to hospitals in Perth. However, patients in Northam, which is just 5km further away from the city than Bindoon and a slim 2km over the acceptable limit, remain eligible for PATS ” even though the town has its own hospital.
Agricultural Region MLC Shane Love said he welcomed news of a PATS review and urged Bindoon residents to make a submission to the inquiry.
‘Residents from Bindoon and Gingin do not have a local hospital, yet do not qualify for PATS because they are less than 100km from Perth,’ he said.
‘Public transport options between Bindoon, Gingin and Perth are limited and residents are disadvantaged.’
Several aspects of the scheme will be reviewed, including funding, eligibility, administration processes and exceptional circumstances.
Bindoon parents Clare and Terry Priddle are among those who do not qualify for PATS despite having a convincing case for support.
Mrs Priddle said she took her three young daughters to Princess Margaret Hospital regularly for specialist treatment of leukodystrophy and to Midland weekly for therapy.
‘What the scheme covers and how much is given needs an overhaul, not just the kilometre allowance,’ she said.
‘A lot of the seniors here in Bindoon are in the same boat; there’s so much of it here.’
‘There’s no public transport for us to get to these hospitals either, whereas Northam has a hospital and is just over the 100km cut-off, so go figure.’
Some mothers have also reported that the area is too far to receive home visits from a midwife, yet it does not qualify for PATS to travel to Perth.