$743 million for palliative care in New South Wales
Cancer Council NSW welcomes the NSW Government announcement for an additional $743 million for palliative care, which is in addition to the $300 million annual spend on palliative care. Employing an extra 600 nurses, allied health professionals, doctors and support staff will be key to delivering improved access to quality palliative care.
We also welcome the commitment to improving palliative care services for regional communities. In our submission to the NSW Parliamentary inquiry into health outcomes and access to health and hospital services in rural, remote and regional NSW, we highlighted the need to improve delivery and implementation of palliative care and support. Our survey of people affected by cancer in regional NSW found that one in three people who need access to palliative care experienced major or severe difficulties.
The provision of palliative care is inconsistent and often left for GPs to manage, particularly in regional communities where access to specialists is limited. These clinicians are expected to have appropriate skills, knowledge and access to training and support; however, generalist staff report that they feel ill-equipped to provide palliative care to their patients.
There must also be strong monitoring, regular evaluation, and public reporting to ensure that this significant investment is truly delivering what is being promised.
We know cancer patients and their carers have specific needs. Cancer Council NSW recommends that an implementation plan is developed in consultation with cancer clinicians, organisations, and consumers.
There must also be clear accountabilities for the delivery of outcomes and an implementation plan should be published to ensure transparency.
There is a wealth of expertise and good will that the NSW Government can draw from that will ensure this significant investment translates to quality palliative care and support for patients, their families, and carers.