PATS Subsidies

Subsidies to assist with travel and accommodation costs associated with accessing a specialist medical service are available for eligible patients.

If a patient requires assistance when travelling, an application can be made for an escort to travel with them.

PATS subsidies are not intended to cover the full costs associated with accessing specialist medical services; they provide a contribution towards them.

PATS does not cover medical expenses or other costs associated with accessing specialist medical services, such as parking, meals, medical appliances or medical gap costs. Access to taxi payments are only available in limited circumstances.

All PATS subsidies will be assessed against the PATS Guideline. 


The patient's approved mode of transport for the travel subsidy is determined by the most clinically appropriate and cost-effective transport available. Modes of transport can include private vehicle, community bus, bus, train or airplane. 

Distance is calculated using the most direct or common route from your permanent residence to the nearest town centre and the commercial business district (CBD) of the treatment centre you are travelling to.

The mode of transport is approved by the local PATS office in line with the PATS Guideline. 

Subsidy amounts

Travel subsidies are determined using criteria below:

Mode of transport

Subsidy amount

Private vehicle where the patient is required to travel more than 100km one way

16 cents per kilometre

Train or bus transport where the patient is required to travel more than 100km one way

Economy fare

Community bus transporting two or more PATS patients where the patient is required to travel more than 100km one way

25 cents per kilometre

 Air travel for:

  • Pilbara or Kimberley residents
  • distances where more than 16 hours surface travel would be required
  • cancer patients travelling more than 350km one way for treatment
  • when a doctor certifies air travel is essential for clinical reasons.

 Economy fare

Surface travel including private vehicle, train or bus for renal and cancer treatment where the patient is required to travel between 70-100km one way

 $20 per return trip


Subsidies for accommodation are provided where accommodation is required when accessing a specialist medical service. The subsidies are for a maximum period of six months continuous. While extensions may be granted in special circumstances, they should be applied for in advance.

You are eligible for accommodation assistance if you live more than 100 km from the treatment centre and:

  • the medical specialist certifies that you need to stay overnight for follow-up
  • the forward and return journeys cannot reasonably be completed in one day because of factors such as:
    • time required travelling
    • type of travel
    • transport schedules and availability, or
    • your medical condition.

If you are required to attend an associated allied health appointment after your specialist appointment, you may be able to extend your stay by one or two days.

Subsidy amounts

Accommodation subsidies are determined using criteria below:

Type of accommodation Subsidy amount
Commercial accommodation

Up to $60 per night for a PATS patient, or $75 (combined) for a PATS patient and an approved escort

Private accommodation $20 per night each for a PATS patient and an approved escort


Patients eligible for PATS can apply for an escort to travel with them. An escort is someone who accompanies the patient when travelling to access specialist medical treatment. An escort must be 18 years or older.

You may be eligible for an escort if:

  • the person being escorted is a dependent child
  • Centrelink has determined that you are under the care of a principal carer
  • you are a home dialysis patient who is receiving training (a carer is required to attend as a condition of the medical specialist treatment)
  • the escort is legally required to make decisions on your behalf, and/ or
  • the referring practitioner, prior to departure specifies the reason why an escort’s presence is essential, on the PATS Application form, based on their assessment that you would be unable to manage their treatment alone, particularly if the applicant is undergoing treatment for cancer or is disabled or frail.

Patients should discuss their need for an escort with their referring clinician and the staff at their local PATS office when they submit their application.

Escort eligibility will be assessed by the local PATS office in line with the PATS Guideline.