Council to debate writing Govt over Our House funding crisis

LISMORE councillor Simon Clough will put an urgency motion to tonight's council meeting in an effort to save cancer accommodation provider, Our House.

Recent changes to the Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance scheme will see an increase in subsidies for patients staying in commercial accommodation, excluding not-for-profit providers.

Our House chairman Dr Chris Ingall told The Northern Star last month that the changes would result in the closure of Our House.

SIMON CLOUGH: Our community could lose a facility which provides outstanding service ...
SIMON CLOUGH: Our community could lose a facility which provides outstanding service ...

He said the facility would be unable to compete with fully subsidised hotels and motels.

Cr Clough said his motion would ask the council to write to Lismore MP Thomas George and NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner about the issue.

"The changes to IPTAAS would mean that subsidies for hotels or motels will increase to $80 or $105 per night," he said.

"Unfortunately Our House's subsidy will remain at $43 per night.

"To be sustainable, Our House will have to charge a co-payment, which will mean many people will choose the fully subsidised commercial alternative, destroying Our House's financial viability.

Our House had already charged a co-payment, but with the accommodation subsidy equal for commercial and not-for-profit providers, had been able to charge co-payment a lower or at least similar to that of commercial operators.

"Under these proposed changes there is no longer a level playing field in patient accommodation with commercial facilities being favoured," Cr Clough said.

"Our community could lose a facility which provides outstanding service and which it has worked very hard to create."

Cr Clough's motion will be debated at the council meeting tonight.