Government funded travel and accommodation assistance: learning from inter-country research
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Objectives: The paper explores the consumer experience with the New Zealand travel and accommodation assistance scheme, known as the National Travel Assistance (NTA) scheme, as detailed in findings from a recent study on relocation for specialist treatment in haematology. The study is set in the context of the research literature on Australian government travel and accommodation assistance schemes. The findings provide the opportunity for shared, inter-country learning to inform health policy, administration and service delivery. Methods: A qualitative methodology was used based on open-ended interviews with participants (n=62) who had relocated for specialist care selected from a database of patients and families maintained by the Leukaemia and Blood Foundation. Criteria included a representation of all major haematological diagnostic groups and location in the corresponding catchment areas of primary specialist haematological centres in New Zealand. The interviews were audiorecorded, transcribed verbatim, coded and thematically analysed. Results and Conclusions: In New Zealand there is a high level of satisfaction with the NTA scheme. The process of information giving is active with health professionals, especially hospital social workers, providing the initiative to make sure patients and their carers are well informed and actively supported in relation to the scheme. The majority of New Zealanders interviewed indicated that they found the NTA scheme to be user-friendly with forms easy to fill in and submit, staff available to actively assist with the application process and a clear line of administration for easy approvals. The findings provide useful insights to inform health policy and service delivery in relation to government travel and accommodation schemes in Australian and New Zealand.
Journal of Rural and Tropical Public Health
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Health Care Administration