Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (23 October) . . Page.. 4108..
(Question No 954)
Mr Smythasked the Minister for Health, upon notice:
In relation to botox:
Are there currently any facilities (a) in the ACT public health system and (b) in Canberra generally, that patients with a muscle disorder can access for botox injections;
If so for (a) and or (b) where are those clinics/centres, if not, why not;
Do some patients have to travel interstate for such injections;
Is there a rebate scheme or assistance scheme provided by our health system that pays for interstate travel for those in the public system who need to utilise botox clinics for health reasons, if so, how can that system be utilised, if not, why not;
Is the Government considering establishing a botox clinic in Canberra that can be access by public health patients who need it for health reasons, ie for muscle disorders, if not, why not.
Mr Corbell: The answer to the member's question is:
(a) there are currently no ACT public health facilities for patients to access botox injections for the treatment of muscle disorders and (b) there are a range of private medical specialists and clinics which use botox for cosmetic and medical treatments. In some cases these medical treatments can be claimed under the Medicare Benefits Schedule and the patient pays for the cost of the drug which may be obtained through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
(a) At present, 95% of public hospital care for ACT residents is provided in the ACT. Some highly specialised services cannot be maintained, either financially or clinically for such a small population. Public patients requiring these services are referred interstate, most commonly to Sydney.
A number of patients from the ACT travel interstate to obtain botox injections for medical reasons, including muscular disorders and cerebral palsy. Medical specialists, including neurologists, may refer these patients for this type of treatment.
The Interstate Patient Travel Assistance Scheme (IPTAS) provides financial assistance towards travel and accommodation costs for permanent residents of the ACT who are required to travel interstate for specialist medical treatment unavailable in the ACT. The scheme is managed by the Clinical Support Services at TCH. General Practitioners, medical specialists and social workers are the intended point of contact for patients needing to access IPTAS.
Public patients can access botox injections interstate and financial support is provided under the IPTAS scheme managed from TCH. The Government is not currently considering the establishment of a botox clinic in the ACT. To date there has been no evidence of demand for this service to be established in the ACT.