A public meeting was held at the School of Arts on 18 May at 10.00am. It was well attended by the senior residents of Bulahdelah.
Kathy Westwood from Hunter New England Health said, “Transport was identified as an important issue by the Bulahdelah Health Committee.”
A representative from the Bulahdelah Ambulance Paramedics spoke about the importance of calling ‘000’ in an emergency, not the local ambulance branch.
He explained that there is a grading system within the hospital system and this determines where you will be taken, in accordance with the severity of your medical condition and the timing of medical attention needed.
Jenny Hadfield from Manning Valley & Area Community Transport Group then talked about transport options and Home And Community Care Services.
This transport group is a not-for-profit organisation and volunteers use the company cars to take disadvantaged and senior people where needed.
“Community Transport assist the elderly to maintain living independently in their own homes by assisting with transport to medical appointments, social and community activities as well as getting to their local shopping centres.”
Margo Rolando, a Hunter New England Health representative, addressed the meeting about the Isolated Patient Travel Accommodation Assistance Scheme (IPTAAS).
This is a government funded scheme and works with NSW Transport to assist patients to have transport to see a specialist.
Margo explained how claims can be made to Medicare to reimburse a patient’s travel costs.
The other scheme discussed was the Non-Emergency Health Related Transport scheme (NEHRT).
The information at the meeting was well-received by the Bulahdelah residents as many commented that they did not know about these transport options or the funds available to assist isolated patients.
They now feel more informed about the forms that need to be completed and procedures to follow to access these services.