Background and Context:
Many patients have to travel significant distances for appointments or treatment. This often results in substantial financial and emotional strain. In Australia, state and territory Patient Transport Assistance Schemes provide partial reimbursement of travel and accommodation costs. Clinicians from Cancer Council Victoria’s Clinical Network identified the need for reform of the Victorian Patient Transport and Assistance Scheme (VPTAS).
In 2013, Clinical Network joined with the McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer, who, with support from the Legal Services Board of Victoria’s major grants program, undertook to review the policy underpinning patient transport support schemes.
The aim of this multidisciplinary cross-sectoral collaboration was to progress advocacy efforts to improve the Victorian scheme (VPTAS).
Following stakeholder consultations with Clinical Network members, an analysis of patient transport and accommodation schemes in Australia and internationally was undertaken by the McCabe Centre. The CCV’s Strategy and Support Division then worked to develop a broad-based advocacy alliance, to lobby the Victorian Government to improve the VPTAS
We hosted two roundtable events with representatives from various chronic disease and social services agencies to canvas views relating to:
the need for improvement to the VPTAS in Victoria;
options for how the VPTAS could be improved
At the roundtable event, attendees agreed to the formation of an advocacy alliance, with a goal of agreeing on a broad advocacy strategy to improve the VPTAS.
Outcomes/What was learned:
Through a mix of behind the scenes, and media activism, the Alliance successfully lobbied the Victorian government to commit to a long-term strategy to improve the VPTAS, including a promised 13.8 million dollars in the 2014 Victorian state budget.
The success of the VPTAS collaboration provides a real-world example of how the Clinical Network progresses its goal of a shared advocacy agenda with CCV to improve outcomes for Victorians affected by cancer.