Bath backs record funding for palliative care

Gippsland residents will have access to world-class palliative care under a Liberal-Nationals government, Member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath has said.

Ms Bath said an elected Liberal-Nationals government would provide $140 million over four years – the largest investment of its kind in Australia – to ensure Victorians can have the choice of community palliative care or care at home in their final days.

Speaking in Parliament this week, Ms Bath said about 17,000 Victorians accessed palliative care.

“With increased funding through this initiative, there will be an extra 8,000 people able to access this care at a time when they are at the most vulnerable point in their lives,” Ms Bath said.

“Research tells us 70 per cent of people say that they would like to spend their last days at home, surrounded by their family and friends, loved ones and pets, but we also know that in truth, less than a third of people actually get to do that.”

“There will be a 50 per cent funding increase in community palliative care provided in the home, including overnight care and in-home respite and carer support, and enhanced linkages to after-hours support such as GPs and pharmacists.”

“In discussions with healthcare providers like Latrobe Community Health Service, I’ve heard that the number of people in some of Gippsland’s palliative care programs has doubled in just the past five years.”

“With an ageing population and increasing rates of complex chronic illness, demand for palliative care will continue to grow.”

“Only a Liberal-Nationals government will make the necessary investment to deliver timely and comprehensive community palliative care for those who want it.”

The Liberal-Nationals’ package will include:

  • Doubling specialist palliative care medical and nursing services to community palliative care clients, especially in rural and regional Victoria.
  • A 50 per cent increase in funding for community palliative care provided in the home, including overnight care, in-home respite and carer support, and enhanced links to after-hours support such as GPs and pharmacists.
  • Significant education and workforce development to recruit and train skilled palliative care workers to deliver expanded services, enhance health professionals’ capacity to have end-of-life conversations, and support volunteers.
  • A community awareness and engagement campaign to assist Victorians to understand the availability and benefits of palliative care, including under-represented groups such as rural and regional Victorians, children, non-cancer related illnesses, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and indigenous Victorians.
  • Establishing of an End-of-Life Ministerial Council, with representation from palliative care and broader health sectors as well as patients and carers, to ensure palliative care is integrated with broader health services and flexibly and effectively meeting the needs of terminally ill Victorians and their families.