Travel program needs changes, council hears

  • Jun. 13, 2014 5:00 p.m.

The provincial Travel Assistance Program (TAP) needs to change, Charlotte Mayor Carol Kulesha told council June 2, when recounting a discussion from the Northwest Regional Hospital District meeting late last month.”The biggest problem is that there is no funding for hotel rooms and with a lack of ferry service this is a huge impact on those who must stay longer,” she said, “If you have to go to Terrace or Vancouver no one pays for the fuel for the car or the nights in a hotel.”Councillors agreed the current system doesn’t adequately serve islanders’ medical needs.The Ministry of Health Travel Assistance Program (TAP) partners with transportation carriers to alleviate some costs for those travelling for non-emergency medical services not available in their community.A letter from Transportation Minister Todd Stone, written April was included in the NWRHD meeting. He responded to its past concerns about the program.”With respect to your comments about medical travel and the Travel Assistance Program (TAP), as you are likely aware, the TAP is a partnership between the Ministry of Health and private transportation carriers, including BC Ferries,” Mr. Stone wrote, “I am advised that approximately 3,700 passengers travelled on Route 11 (Prince Rupert – Skidegate) using the Medical Travel Assistance Program (MTAP), and 2,000 passengers used MTAP to travel on Route 26 (Skidegate – Alliford Bay). I have shared your concerns with the Honourable Terry Lake, Minister of Health, for his information.”In an e-mail, Ms Kulesha also mentioned Sandspit residents face difficulties by not qualifying for financial assistance when coming to Charlotte and that flying for appointments is also an issue for some islanders.

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