St Vincent’s Health Australia has congratulated the NSW Government on its intention to invest $100 million over four years into the state’s palliative care system, calling it a “game changer” in the way the state addresses end of life care.
The announcement – which will be included as part of next week’s NSW Budget – includes training for 300 new nurses and allied health staff, more palliative care specialists for regional areas, and an expansion of palliative care services in western Sydney.
St Vincent’s Health Australia – which operates NSW’s largest palliative care service at its St Vincent’s Sydney Hospital – said the NSW Government’s announcement showed it had been genuine in its desire to improve palliative care services and had listened to the sector’s advice.
“The NSW Government deserves congratulations for the way it has approached this issue,” said St Vincent’s Health Australia’s CEO, Toby Hall.
“Palliative care services in NSW have become increasingly stretched. So much so, that in many regional and rural parts of the state, accessing palliative care is very difficult.
“In response, we were encouraged when the new Minister for Health announced he would be holding roundtables – in metro and regional areas – to hear from the sector first-hand about how to improve the situation.
“We also wrote to the Minister, identifying where the challenges were in the palliative care system and how to address its many significant problems.
“It’s clear that Minister not only listened to advice – from ourselves and others – but he took the matter seriously and went into bat for the palliative care system as part of the budget process.
“This investment in palliative care is unprecedented in NSW. Both the NSW Premier and Minister for Health deserve congratulations for making the issue a major priority.
“There are many other issues associated with palliative care that still need tackling, for example, we need to better educate medical professionals about the benefits of palliative care and how to have early and open conversations about end of life with patients facing life-threatening illnesses.
“But for today, let’s welcome this good news and recognise it will mean a huge difference to many thousands of people and their families at a vulnerable time in their lives,” said Mr Hall.