Palliative care funding fear
Vasse MLA Libby Mettam has slammed the McGowan Government for slashing regional palliative care funding by 5.5 per cent.
In Parliament yesterday, Ms Mettam demanded more palliative care funding for the Capes region to double the number of palliative care nurses at the Busselton Health Campus. WA has the lowest rate of inpatient palliative-care beds per person in the country, according to an Australian Institute on Health and Welfare report.
Ms Mettam said the number of full-time palliative care nurses in the region needed to be doubled.
“There is a need to ensure high quality palliative care is available to every Western Australian, regardless of whether they live in the city or in a regional or rural area,” she said. “This new program would provide much-needed social and emotional support to complement the WACHS clinical palliative care services and support those who spend most of their illness at home, enhancing the care available across our growing community.”
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Most services such as Busselton Hospice Care are supported by the community through fundraising.
Busselton Hospice Care chairwoman Jenny Monson said the organisation had more than 400 trained volunteers in its Compassionate Community program but would benefit from the help of specialist nurses.
“The end of life is a very unpredictable time and people need emotional support and physical care,” she said.
“We see the need for extra clinical nursing staff for those who may want to die at home.”
Nurses aim to improve the quality of life for patients battling terminal or life-limiting illnesses.
City of Busselton Mayor Grant Henley said the City supported any additional resources that would help patients.
“Noting that we have a growing population and a high percentage of aged residents, the City would certainly like to see more palliative care nurses positioned within the region,” he said.
“We are fortunate that we have an award winning palliative care facility in Busselton Hospice Care and we do recognise the outstanding work being done by staff and volunteers at the centre.”
Health Minister Roger Cook said the Government was a strong investor in palliative care.
“It’s important to have a good focus on palliative care while we consider the voluntary assisted dying bill,” he said.
“Palliative care is an essential part of end-of-life care and we are committed to a 74 per cent increase in funding for regional palliative care services next year.”
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