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Call to improve end of life care for Aboriginal people

Addressing the gap in Aboriginal palliative care must be a priority in the Victorian Government’s End of Life Care Framework, according to peak bodies VACCHO and Palliative Care Victoria.

Over 100 people will attend an inaugural symposium on Aboriginal palliative care in Victoria today, which will include an address by the Minister for Health, Hon. Jill Hennessy.

Aboriginal people have very poor access to palliative care even though they have much higher rates of chronic illness and mortality. Concerns about the cultural appropriateness of services and lack of awareness contribute to this situation.

“The provision of cultural support and care linkages for Aboriginal people with a life limiting illness by Aboriginal community health organisations would assist in overcoming these barriers. We are calling on the Victorian Government to introduce a new program of funding for this,” said Marcus Clarke, Chair of VACCHO.

“We will also need to continue efforts to improve the cultural responsiveness of palliative care services and strengthen the collaboration between the palliative care and the Aboriginal community controlled health services,” said Michael Bramwell, Chair of Palliative Care Victoria.

“This is not just about new funding, or action by the Government alone. We must all work together to achieve our vision of culturally responsive palliative care for all Aboriginal people with a life limiting illness on their journey to the Dreaming,” Mr Bramwell said.

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