NSW Government reforms have significantly increased the choices available to people facing the end of their lives, Health Minister Jillian Skinner told the Palliative Care NSW State Conference in Broken Hill today.
“When I became the Health Minister in 2011, palliative care was a neglected part of the health system. I am proud of what we have achieved in the last five years for those nearing the end of their life, their loved ones and carers,” Mrs Skinner said.
“So many lives have been enhanced by the reforms we have introduced and will continue to make, with a Palliative Care Advisory Working Group providing advice on strategic policy priorities and directions for palliative care across NSW beyond 2016.”
The NSW Government Plan to Increase Access to Palliative Care 2012-2016 is guiding the initiatives, which include:
- $35 million over four years for community-based palliative care initiatives. As a result, over 4,400 support packages have been provided since November 2013, with an additional $20 million committed to extend the program.
- a $12 million flexible funding pool for Local Health Districts to address the palliative care needs specific to their communities.
- $5 million to fund paediatric palliative care ‘pop-up’ teams, which quickly mobilise for the duration of a child’s illness and for the family in bereavement. Since April 2015, there have been 194 ‘pop-up’ interventions.
- a Paediatric Palliative Care website to provide support, education and information to community care providers and families. It has received over 3,000 hits. To view the website, go to www.caresearch.com.au/caresearch/tabid/3339/Default.aspx
- a $1 million Volunteer Support Program, run by Palliative Care NSW.
- a $1.8 million after-hours service to provide information and support to people with a life-limiting condition, carers, families and health professionals.
- $3 million for renal palliative care.
- a significant boost in the specialist palliative care work force, including seven new speciality training positions, three new positions for Rural Generalist trainees, 30 end-of-life nurse educator and clinical nurse specialists and four nurse practitioners.
Mrs Skinner congratulated the Far West Local Health District which has received a grant of $239,806 through the NSW Government’s new Translational Research Grants Scheme for a partnership project with Broken Hill University Department of Rural Health and two residential aged care facilities (Southern Cross Care in Broken Hill and Murray House in Wentworth).