Nine rural and regional areas in NSW will soon have new palliative care specialists as part of a $3.06 million investment to improve the care and choices for patients. Minister for Health Brad Hazzard and Parliamentary Secretary for Health Leslie Williams said a palliative care specialist position will be funded in Illawarra Shoalhaven, Hunter New England, Mid North Coast, Murrumbidgee, Northern NSW, Southern NSW, Western NSW, Central Coast and Far West local health districts. The funding is part of the NSW Government’s biggest ever palliative care investment of $100 million over the next four years, including $17.4 million in 2017-18 – on top of the approximately $210 million spent on these services each year.
Mrs Williams made the announcement today at Dubbo Base Hospital. “The NSW Government is committed to investing in palliative care right across the health system so that patients have real choices in the care they receive at the end of their life,” Mrs Williams said. The 2017-18 Budget also committed $795,000 for two rural palliative care relief positions to support specialists and GPs in hospital and in the community. An Expression of Interest will be undertaken to identify the Local Health District/Specialty Networks to host the two relief positions.
Mr Grant said this investment will better support palliative care staff, who are at the heart of delivering compassionate care. “This investment in the rural and regional palliative care workforce demonstrates our firm commitment to do all we can to support patients, as well as their families, at this most difficult time,” Mr Grant said. Mr Hazzard said the NSW Government is delivering on a record Budget commitment to provide better and more access to excellent palliative care services. “Providing first-class palliative care in every part of the state is a key priority for the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government and this record investment will significantly strengthen the palliative care workforce, particularly in regional and rural areas.”