Why Qld is paying for interstate ambulance fees

 

The state government is paying out millions of dollars every year to cover ambulance fees slapped on Queenslanders when they are injured or taken to hospital while visiting other states and territories.

The Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) paid out $5.37m last financial year for almost 5000 interstate ambulance trips - with the average fee reaching more than $1000.

While Queenslanders aren't slugged ambulance fees in their home state, they are when they go interstate, with other states even dishing out fees to their own residents.

The QAS pays out ambulance charges slapped on Queenslanders when they visit interstate. Picture: Zizi Averill
The QAS pays out ambulance charges slapped on Queenslanders when they visit interstate. Picture: Zizi Averill

The QAS still managed to claw back more than $8.9m in 2019-20 by issuing their own ambulance fees to interstate and international visitors, despite the border closures brought about by COVID-19.

A QAS spokesman said the government "fully funds" ambulance care for all Queensland residents across Australia to give them "great peace of mind".

"This means no matter where in the country they experience an emergency and are in need of an ambulance, their ambulance fees will be covered," he said.

"The QAS pays Queensland residents' interstate ambulance service invoices within 14 days of QAS receiving the patient's invoice and proof of Queensland residency."

The QAS paid out $5.65m in 2018-19 as well as $5.4m in 2017-18.

The $8.97m that the QAS made in 2019-20 from fees issued to interstate and international visitors was up 50.6 per cent from the previous year.

"Revenue is proportionate to demand. Increased demand for ambulance services experienced in 2019-20 led to increased revenue," the QAS spokesman said.

The state where the government covered the most fees in 2019-20 was NSW, where more than $3m was spent to pay for 3,062 ambulance trips, followed by Victoria where 943 trips collectively cost $1.29m.

There were 102 ambulance trips in the ACT that cost $93,115, while 198 trips in Tasmania cost more than $380,000.

The ambulance levy was scrapped in Queensland by the Bligh Government in 2011.

 

The interstate ambulance fees paid by QAS in 2019-20

 

NSW: 3,062 trips at a cost of $3,007,180

Victoria: 943 trips at a cost of $1,295,493

Tasmania: 198 trips at a cost of $383,806

South Australia: 231 trips at a cost of $244,898

Northern Territory: 219 trips at a cost of $116,038

Western Australia: 236 trips at a cost of $187,844

ACT: 102 trips at a cost of $93,115

 

 

 

Originally published as Why Qld is paying for interstate ambulance fees



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