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Regional Patient Resources

We understand that access to health services is difficult for those living in regional and remote Australia, but luckily there are support services that can help. If this applies to you, rest assured. We’ve compiled helpful information and local resources to help you find accessible health services.

NT | NSW | WA | SA | QLD | VIC | TAS | ACT

Medical Services for Rural Australians

Primary health care and 24-hour emergency services are provided by The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) for people across Australia with limited access. Whilst the RFDS will always be known for its Aeromedical services, primary health care now makes up two-thirds of its daily operations. Explore the RFDS website for more information on their services.

Cancer Screening & Care by State

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Northern Territory

For women in the Northern Territory, not all breast cancer treatments are locally available. Some communities offer screening tests through BreastScreen NT that may be able to diagnose breast cancer. Visit the BreastScreen NT website to find out if and when the mobile screening bus travels to your community.

If you’re suspected to have cancer, they will refer you to a surgeon at the Royal Darwin Hospital or Alice Springs Hospital, depending on where you live. They can also refer you to a surgeon at Darwin Private Hospital. For more information, visit Cancer Council NT and the NT Cancer and Remote Residents page.

If you need to travel a long distance to see an approved medical specialist, the NT government offers a subsidy program (NT Patient Assistance Travel Scheme) to provide financial help for travel and accommodation expenses.

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New South Wales

Regional cancer centres in NSW offer limited oncology services, meaning you might face challenges accessing the appropriate cancer tests and treatments. For those who need to travel, the organisation Can Assist provides financial assistance, practical support and helps raise awareness of inequities, ensuring country people are given the same opportunities and treatment choices as those who live in city centres.

In addition, the NSW Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme (IPTAAS) provides financial assistance to help with travel and accommodation costs for people (and eligible escorts) who need to travel long distances to access specialist treatment not available locally.

For additional information and resources on regional cancer care in NSW, visit Cancer Institute NSW.

Western Australia

Cancer Council WA offer a regional cancer support service to provide localised information and services, as well as guidance, if you need to travel to Perth for treatment. To find out what services are available in your area and how to connect with your local support coordinator, visit the Cancer Council WA website.

The WA government offers a subsidy program (Patient Assisted Travel Scheme – PATS) for eligible patients needing to travel in order to access specialist medical services. PATS provides financial support for travel and accommodation for eligible patients.

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South Australia

Cancer Council SA provide two accommodation facilities in Adelaide for country people affected by cancer and their carers. There are 15 chemotherapy units in hospitals across regional South Australia. These units are also equipped with Digital Telehealth Network facilities, so that some medical appointments may be held with specialists based in metropolitan Adelaide without the requirement to travel.

Other country hospitals that don’t have chemotherapy units can provide supportive care to cancer patients such as pump disconnection and dressings. For more information, visit Cancer Council SA’s country cancer support page.

Through the Patient Assistance Transport Scheme (PATS), subsidies are provided to assist South Australians who are required to travel more than 100km each way to access necessary and approved medical specialist services that are not available locally.

Queensland

For patients in rural QLD communities, BreastScreen brings mobile screening services to isolated communities on a regular basis. They can also assist patients with accessing the QLD Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme (PTSS).

The subsidy helps Queensland residents access health care by contributing to the cost of transport and accommodation. This may be an option if you’re asked to come back for follow up tests at an Assessment Clinic. Visit BreastScreen QLD for more information on mobile screening and to get in touch.

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Victoria

Cancer services in regional Victoria provide care for cancer patients as close to home as is safe and practicable. If you need to be referred to a larger service for diagnosis, treatment or follow-up care, Victoria’s regional cancer services work together to ensure consistency and quality of care.

The VIC Victorian Patient Transport Assistance Scheme (VPTAS) covers some of the travel and accommodation costs incurred by rural Victorians when they need to travel for specialist medical treatment. Visit the VIC Department of health for more information on their regional cancer centres and integrated cancer services.

Tasmania

For women in Tasmania, not all breast cancer services are locally available. 

Tasmania has two divisions for cancer services – the Northern Cancer Service and Southern Services. 

Breast screening in Tasmania is run by BreastScreen and there are clinics in Hobart and Launceston. For women who are unable to attend a clinic in these locations, BreastScreen operates two fully-equipped mobile units (Ida and Luna) to extend its free breast screening service to eligible women across the state. The Ida unit has wheelchair accessibility.

If you live in Tasmania and need financial support with travel and/or accommodation to receive your medical treatment or care, there is help available. This is called the Patient Travel Assistance Scheme (PTAS).

Cancer Council Tasmania provides a wide range of support services to assist with cancer related issues and needs delivered across Tasmania at no cost to the public.

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Australian Capital Territory

The ACT Government provides cancer treatment and services at the dedicated Canberra Region Cancer Centre, and offers some services in the community.

Cancer support is available through Your Space, a Cancer Wellbeing Centre

Need Support and Connection?

Discover safe spaces to connect with others through our Support Groups page. Connect with other Australian women who are going through the same experience, treatments, and recovery as you.