RETIRED physician and end-of-life care campaigner Dr Yvonne McMaster met with Parkes MP Mark Coulton this week as part of her campaign to boost palliative care services in Dubbo.
"Orange now has two things we'd like to have in Dubbo - a full-time palliative care doctor and a 24-hour service where nurses are on call day or night and weekends to go to homes and be on the phone for people who are having difficulty, and Dubbo needs that," she said.
Dr McMaster said while she understood the state government controlled the purse strings to fund the specialist palliative care physician, extra palliative care nurses and allied health staff the city required, she hoped Mr Coulton could "get in the ear of the state MP (Troy Grant)" to help secure the services.
"I really liked Mark a lot - it was obvious he really understood from his own experience the importance of palliative care services," she said.
"His own electorate is huge, covering most of the Western NSW Local Health District (LHD) for a start. It's ludicrous for there to only be the equivalent of two full-time palliative care nurses to cover the majority of that area.
"What if they get sick, need to go away for training or take maternity leave? Who replaces them? Nobody, that's the answer."
Mr Coulton said he would have a discussion with Dubbo MP Troy Grant about the issue.
"Dr McMaster has spoken to Troy and the NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner about the issue in the past, and while there is not much I can do I have a great affinity with her cause," he said.
"People don't talk about dying much, but everyone should be able to die in their own community. In our discussion we touched on places like Bourke and Nyngan, for instance, and how we don't want to separate people from their communities in their final days."
That was something that could be achieved only by boosting specialist palliative care services in Dubbo and surrounds, Dr McMaster said. Dr McMaster also met with Dubbo City Councillor Ben Shields during her visit and was hopeful he would move a motion for council to write to the Western NSW LHD CEO and health minister to lobby for more palliative care positions for the city.