Scot MacDonald
9th Jun 2017

The future for palliative care services in the Hunter New England region will be discussed at a roundtable in Newcastle today to help the NSW Government better tailor end-of-life care in regional areas.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, Scot MacDonald MLC will host talks with community and health professionals at the Wests New Lambton Bowling Club.

“The NSW Government is committed to improving access to palliative care in the community and has invested significantly in services and support,” Mr MacDonald said.

“This forum is an opportunity to ensure we are in step with local needs. It will give our medical specialists an opportunity to contribute to the Government’s strategy for palliative care.”

About 50,000 people die each year in NSW and the figure will double by 2056. Recent figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found nationally, hospitalisations for palliative care are growing faster than all other hospitalisations.

Palliative care manages pain and other distressing symptoms for people approaching the end of their lives. 

Taylor Martin MLC said we need to ensure people have more control in their last months of life and ideally have a plan for their eventual passing.

“We know that more than half of all deaths in Australia occur in hospitals, though many people, at various times, say they would prefer to die at home,” Mr Martin said

“Dying in Australia has become more institutionalised and we need to look at why as a community we have veered in this direction, and if an alternative path is needed.”

The NSW Government has provided substantial palliative care support to the Hunter New England Health region. Some of the services include:

  • Palliative Care Services with community outreach 24 hours a day.
  • Community nursing staff who support palliative care patients in hospital and in their place of residence
  • A dedicated 24-hour Palliative Care Unit and outreach service at Calvary Mater Newcastle.
  • Dedicated Palliative Care Units at Manning and Tamworth Hospitals.
  • A specialist paediatric Palliative Care service based at John Hunter Children’s Hospitals providing care to children throughout northern New South Wales.

Newcastle is the final of nine roundtables that the NSW Government has held throughout the state.

Scot MacDonald | 0408 450 032