National Palliative Care Week

24th May 2018

Mr GREG PIPER ( Lake Macquarie ) ( 12:32 ): I speak on this important motion brought forward by the member for Port Macquarie. It would be difficult to say anything that was not positive about this motion, which congratulates the Government on increasing palliative care funding to record levels. That fact is inarguable, and I congratulate the Government on its funding for palliative care, particularly the last major investment of $100 million. Today, on the day of the Cancer Council's Australia's Biggest Morning Tea, it should be remembered how big a role the Cancer Council has played in raising issues and championing that investment. But it is never just the involvement of one group; we do this as a community and as a team.

During National Palliative Care Week, we recognise the importance of this event for raising public awareness of palliative care. The theme for National Palliative Care Week this year is "What matters most?" I commend the motion moved by the member for Port Macquarie for raising those issues. Every member would have stories from their electorates about issues and problems in relation to palliative care. I have raised such matters in the House previously and I have fought for my community. In my electorate, we want our palliative care services extended. I recognise the excellent palliative care services that are delivered by Calvary Mater through Hunter New England Health but we want the services extended. I am sure that all members want more palliative care services. Our end?of?life journey is one that each of us and every member of the community will take, but services are particularly important for those who are approaching their end of life and have a need for palliative care.

The member for Port Macquarie has had experience in palliative care during her career as a nurse. I also have had experience being with people when they die. As I have said in the House previously, I am not particularly proud of the palliative care services that were delivered to people during my time nursing—not because of anything I did but because the system did not allow for a good death. As a society, we have to address that issue. As individuals, we have to face up to the fact sooner rather than later that we are all on this path. We have seen the passage of family and friends as they move on. We can make it easier for our family and friends as we move on through programs such as advance care directives, which can ease the burden on families in their end-of-life considerations. We have to improve the services bit by bit. As has been mentioned, the Auditor-General in his report into palliative care was somewhat critical. However, I refer to the report where it states:

Over the last two years, NSW Health has taken steps to improve its planning and support for Local Health Districts. The NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation has produced an online resource which will assist districts construct their own, localised models of care.

Things are improving. No government gets this right all the time, but this Government has stepped up to the plate. I thank the Government for its initiatives in palliative care.

Website: Read full Parliamentary debate

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