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Funding increase needed to improve access to palliative care

Not all Victorians are able to receive palliative care when and where they need it. Over half of Victorian palliative care services report that they are unable to meet the current need for palliative care.

People who miss out on the palliative care they need experience more pain and stress. They may not be able to receive care or to die where they want to be. Families providing care may not receive the support they need.

While state government funding for palliative care services has kept pace with increasing costs, there has not been funding to address the unmet or increasing need for palliative care since 2014.

A survey conducted this month found over 92% of Victorians support more government funding for palliative care.

Palliative care helps people to live well until they die. It relieves pain and symptoms, improves quality of life, supports family members providing care, and helps with grief and loss.

Specially trained palliative care staff provide expert help alongside the person’s usual doctors to assist with complex care needs, including their emotional well being.

According to international measures of population need for palliative care, at least 26% of Victorians who die are missing out on the benefits of palliative care. This proportion is higher among older people, including aged care residents.

Palliative Care Victoria’s Chair, Dr Judi Greaves said ‘We are asking the Victorian Government to make a commitment to increase funding for palliative care by $65 million per year. This will help to meet demand and to implement the End of life and palliative care framework released by the Government in 2016.’

The Victorian Auditor General and Victoria’s End of Life Choices Inquiry have both recognised the need to improve palliative care funding and access.

The additional funding of $65 million a year is needed to deliver:

  • Community awareness – recent research showed only 46% of Victorians have a good understanding of palliative care;
  • Specialist palliative care availability and capacity; and
  • Workforce and service system capacity.

All three elements are vital in building a whole of health system capacity to provide high quality palliative care and end of life care across a wider range of settings and to meet existing and future needs.

Document

Victorian Government asked to commit $65 M a year to improve access to palliative care

Palliative Care Victoria is calling on the Victorian Government to commit an extra $65 Million a year to improve access to palliative care and end of life care.

This document outlines nine recommended actions, which are in line with the goals of Victoria’s end of life and palliative care framework, released by the Minister for Health in June 2016.

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