Dubbo-based palliative care specialist on report's priority list

DISCUSSION PAPER: NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Regional and Rural Health Leslie Williams has released the reports from 10 "roundtables" on palliative care. She is asking for feedback through a discussion paper to be released next month. Photo: Nick Moir

DISCUSSION PAPER: NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Regional and Rural Health Leslie Williams has released the reports from 10 "roundtables" on palliative care. She is asking for feedback through a discussion paper to be released next month. Photo: Nick Moir

A dedicated palliative care specialist for Dubbo and the north-west of the state is one of the priorities listed in a new report released by the state government.

The report stems from a May 1 “roundtable” at Orange where consumers, health sector representatives and academics discussed the future of palliative care in the Western NSW Local Health District.

Orange hosted the first of a series of regional roundtables in NSW, attended by NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Regional and Rural Health Leslie Williams.

A report from each of the roundtables can be found at www.health.nsw.gov.au

The state government has committed $100 million across four years to “enhance palliative care and upskill regional and rural health staff”.

It will use feedback from the roundtables and a yet-to-be released discussion paper to further improve palliative care services.

“We encourage people to read the reports on the roundtable discussions and then provide feedback on a discussion paper, which will be made available next month,” Mrs Williams said.

The 13-page report resulting from the Orange roundtable lists priority issues and potential solutions. A section of the report focused on  “what works well” includes reference to a trial of an on-call service operating after hours and weekends to support facilities including those offering residential aged care. “The trial will soon expand into Dubbo,” it reads.

In the same section a dementia care support group in Dubbo is reported to be providing education in a range of areas including “power of attorney and creative ways to cope and care”.

Hundreds of people attended the nine regional roundtables at Orange, Lismore, Kempsey, Broken Hill, Tamworth, Newcastle, Griffith, Queanbeyan and Kiama. A metropolitan roundtable also was held at Parliament House in Sydney.

“The roundtables have revealed what your community thinks should be done to improve palliative care services in your area,” Mrs Williams said.  “Priorities put forward include the need for flexible care, ensuring sufficient local staff are trained and available, and making palliative care services more integrated.”

More than half of all deaths in Australia occur in hospitals, despite many people indicating at various stages of their lives that they would prefer to die at home. About 50,000 people die each year in NSW, a figure expected to more than double by 2056. 

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