$200 trip to see doctor has Gloria seeing red
THE thought of paying $200 for a trip to see her specialist about her medical condition made Yamba pensioner Gloria George glad she was sitting down when she made the call.
The 80-year-old said when she contacted Clarence Community Transport and was told the price to be taken by car to the Gold Coast for a Wednesday appointment, it could have brought on a heart attack.
Mrs George said CCT told her there was a bus service to the Gold Coast that ran on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for $70.
"My appointment was on Tuesday and the clinic I was booked into was not available on the other days," she said.
"They said they had made cutbacks and the price to be driven to the appointment was $200.
"I've got a bad heart problem and I nearly fell over when they told me.
"Who can afford $200 to go to an appointment?"
Mrs George said she still has a licence, but would not feel safe driving to her appointment.
"I think I'll be able to get a friend to drive me there and take me home again. I hope so," she said.
The manager of CCT, Warwick Foster, said the price rise for services had come in when the government cut $250,000 from CCT's funding when the NDIS came in last year.
"We could no longer afford to operate the bus five days a week," he said. "And we can't afford to drive people to appointments for the same fee we charge for the bus service."
Mr Foster said the government subsidy for transport of $31 a trip created a juggling act for CCT to afford its services.
"Each trip, no matter the distance, is subsidised at $31," he said.
"It doesn't matter if the trip is across town or to Brisbane, the subsidy is the same.
"What we try to do is to get the small trips to essentially help pay for the big trips."
Mr Foster said there were alternatives for MrsGeorge, which could help her.
"She could catch the bus on a Monday and stay overnight at the Gold Coast," he said.
"She can claim back the cost of the stay on Isolated Patient Travel and Accommodation Scheme and then come back on the bus the following day."