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New Victorian palliative care funding announcements are disappointing and inadequate

At least 10,000 Victorians, one in four who die this year, will miss out on needed palliative care. This means poor quality of life, unrelieved suffering and lack of support for their carers.

This week, the Victorian Government announced an extra $62 million for palliative care over 5 years in an effort to gain the needed support of several rural MPs for the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017 to be voted on in Parliament in the coming weeks.

“While we welcome any increases in palliative care, we are very disappointed and disillusioned that the Victorian Government has decided to make such a modest response to the unmet need for palliative care across Victoria. This funding increase is needed for one year, not five years,” said Odette Waanders, CEO of Palliative Care Victoria.

“On the one hand, the Andrews Government talks about genuine end of life choices. But this funding announcement is insufficient to provide genuine equality of access to palliative care and choice to dying Victorians.

“Palliative Care Victoria welcomes new funding to address regional inequalities but there is also a need to address extensive evidence of unmet need for palliative care right across Victoria.

“Furthermore, the new funding announced does not address adequately essential improvements, including: increasing community awareness of palliative care, ensuring workforce availability, and more intensive palliative care in the last days of life to enable people to die at home,” she said.

“It doesn’t make sense to short-change palliative care when it improves quality of life, contributes to better use of health resources, and is essential for genuine choice.

By comparison, the Liberal-National Coalition’s palliative care funding commitment announced in August were it to gain Government at the 2018 is three times more than the 5-year commitment by the Andrews Government.

All Victorians deserve the opportunity to die well, without suffering and with adequate support for their carers. It should not be a postcode lottery or a low priority,” Palliative Care Victoria’s CEO concluded.

Further details on Palliative Care Victoria’s call for an additional $65M extra palliative care funding per year is available here

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