Palliative care Election commitment Coalition

Ryan backs record funding for palliative care

22 August 2017

Palliative care in rural and regional Victoria will be significantly increased if The Nationals and Liberals are elected to government next year.

Member for Euroa and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan said a new $140 million package for community based palliative care unveiled on Sunday was the largest ever proposed in Australia.

“I believe this is one of the most important investments we can make because communities across the Euroa electorate currently have very limited access to specialist palliative care,” Ms Ryan said.

“This will ensure terminally ill patients and their families in our communities are supported as they approach the end of their lives.

“Last year I came to appreciate the importance of palliative care when my own grandmother passed away. She was surrounded by family and was given excellent care by the staff at Goulburn Valley Health, but I wish that her last moments weren’t spent in a hospital room.

“I have also seen the care and dedication of palliative care specialists across our region, but many of them have told me that they wish they had the capacity to do more.”

Nagambie HealthCare chief executive Bronwyn Beadle welcomed the initiative and said there were significant gaps for rural people who chose to live their final days at home.

“For those choosing to remain at home, Nagambie HealthCare works with its community members to navigate issues of fragmented service provision and poor afterhours access to publicly funded beds,” Ms Beadle said.

“Our capacity to offer home based support or a bed locally to community palliative patient has prevented many a traumatic and unnecessary transfer to an emergency department.”

Ms Ryan said research showed about 70 per cent of Victorians wanted to live their final days at home surrounded by family and friends but barely a third realised that wish because of inadequate funding for community-based palliative care.

Last year funding for community palliative care provided support for 16,777 Victorians but the $140 million commitment announced yesterday would extend that support to up to an extra 8000 Victorians.

The Nationals and Liberals’ package will include*:

  • A doubling of specialist palliative care medical and nursing services to community palliative care clients, especially in rural and regional Victoria;
  • A 50 per cent increase in funding for community palliative care provided in the home, including overnight care, in-home respite and carer support, and enhanced links to after-hours support such as GPs and pharmacists;
  • Significant education and workforce development to recruit and train skilled palliative care workers to deliver expanded services, enhance health professionals’ capacity to have end-of-life conversations, and support volunteers;
  • A community awareness and engagement campaign to assist Victorians to understand the availability and benefits of palliative care, including under-represented groups such as rural and regional Victorians, children, non-cancer related illnesses, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and indigenous Victorians; and
  • Establishing of an End-of-Life Ministerial Council, with representation from palliative care and broader health sectors as well as patients and carers, to ensure palliative care is integrated with broader health services and flexibly and effectively meeting the needs of terminally ill Victorians and their families.

*Based on 2016/17 funding for Community Palliative Care Services and Consultancy Services

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