PATS COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

These frequently asked questions may be useful in relation to COVID-19 and the Patient Assisted Travel Scheme (PATS).

The health and wellbeing of patients and staff is our top priority.  As we continue to review and improve our readiness and response to COVID-19, reducing face-to-face patient contact, where practical, is one of the ways we can deliver care to increased numbers of patients whilst maintaining staff and patient safety.

But we also remain committed to ensuring our patients receive the essential medical care they need, in the most appropriate setting.

The below frequently asked questions may also be useful in relation to the Patient Assisted Travel Scheme (PATS).

I have an upcoming appointment that my specialist has confirmed is essential and I need to travel to, should I still go?

If you haven’t been notified of any changes to your appointment, please contact your health provider to confirm if your appointment is still required and whether you need to attend in person to a health site for either an in-person or telehealth appointment.  In some cases, appointments may be able to be delivered in home via telehealth.

My upcoming appointment has not been cancelled but I am nervous about attending, what should I do?

Your medical specialist will have confirmed a face-to-face appointment is the best option for your specific medical condition and you should attend in person.

If you have concerns, contact your specialist to discuss.

I have been offered a telehealth appointment.  What is telehealth?

Telehealth involves the use of technology to deliver health care across a distance. Telehealth enables you to have an appointment in your own home or local health facility with a medical specialist, allied health professional or nurse by videoconference (VC). All you need is access to the internet and a computer with webcam, a laptop, iPad or mobile phone.

You will be contacted with further information on how to set up for a telehealth appointment on your personal device. You can find out more about telehealth options on HealthyWA.

My appointment has been changed to a telehealth (phone or videoconference) appointment, why?

Your specialist is confident that you do not need to have physical contact in order to receive the care you need for your medical condition. 

My appointment has been cancelled; will I be offered another one?

If your specialist believes you still need to be seen, you will be offered a new appointment date and time.

If your condition does not require ongoing monitoring, you will be discharged.

During COVID-19 our medical teams are limiting face-to-face contact wherever possible and triaging patients to ensure the most urgent cases are prioritised.

My upcoming appointment was changed or cancelled and I had PATS travel booked.  What should I do?

Please contact your local PATS Office and let them know your travel arrangements have changed.  They will take care of the rest.

My PATS application is due to expire but my appointment has just been cancelled.  Will I have to get a new referral?

No.  All current PATS applications will be automatically extended for two years to give you peace of mind.  We will keep you updated with any further changes.

My appointment was cancelled but my condition is worsening.  What should I do?

Contact your referring doctor or local GP to discuss your care.  If required, an urgent appointment may be requested for you.  If it’s an emergency call 000 or visit your closest hospital emergency department.

My appointment was cancelled due to COVID-19 but I wasn't offered a phone or telehealth appointment, why?

If you have not been discharged, it is likely your specialist still needs to see you in person and your appointment will be rescheduled to a new appointment date and time as soon as possible.  You should confirm this with your specialist clinic.

I have been told I still need to attend my appointment but I am sick or in self-isolation.  What should I do?

Please contact your specialist as soon as possible if you are:

  • in self-isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19
  • sick, have flu-like symptoms and/or a fever
  • are unable to attend for any other reason

Your clinical team will discuss your options and arrange a new appointment for you.

If you develop respiratory symptoms or fever you should call the Coronavirus helpline on 1800 020 080 or call your local GP. 

In an emergency call 000 or visit your local emergency department.

Travel advice - General

The WA Government has introduced further restrictions on travel within Western Australia to assist in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Additional stronger restrictions are in place for regional areas.  Please read the WA Government’s COVID-19 coronavirus: Travel and transport advice for the most up to date travel advice.

I am currently in Perth for a medical appointment and am due to return home using PATS.  Are there any restrictions?

Designated Biosecurity Areas (Including the Kimberley) - You will be permitted to travel home but MUST self-isolate in Perth for 14 days and sign a COVID-19 Entry into Designated Biosecurity Areas Form before returning to your region. This form outlines isolation requirements.  Contact your local PATS Office for assistance regarding accommodation in Perth.

All other regions - From midnight, Tuesday 31 March Western Australians who have been outside of their region for medical reasons should return as soon as possible.  At present there are no requirements to self-isolate if not returning to the Designated Biosecurity Areas. You may be required to show evidence of your medical appointment when returning to your region.

Keep up to date with all the latest travel advice.

Why do I have to isolate in Perth?

Minimising the number of people visiting remote communities and making sure that they are free of COVID-19 before they visit or return, will help to stop the spread of COVID-19 and prevent outbreaks in areas where those at greatest risk of becoming seriously ill live.

Will any costs associated with self-isolation be covered?

You will be responsible for your own self-isolation costs.  If you are experiencing financial hardship you may be eligible for assistance.  Requests can be sent to covid19rcr@communities.wa.gov.au.

What evidence will I need to provide if leaving my region for a medical appointment?

As restrictions are placed on travel to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, you may be required to provide evidence of your medical appointment.  This may include, but is not limited to, an appointment letter from an outpatient clinic, an SMS to your phone or an email from your specialist.  If you do not have confirmation of your appointment, please contact your specialist/service provider and ask for this before you travel.

My flights have been cancelled what should I do?

A number of airlines have cancelled or reduced the number of flights they are providing. The WA Country Health Service is working with other government agencies to secure flights across the state.

If your flight has been cancelled, please contact your local PATS Office and we will work with you to make alternative arrangements.

Where can I find more information on COVID-19?

For all the latest announcements and up to date advice on COVID-19 please visit the HealthyWA website or call the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.

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