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Palliative Care: it’s “My Care, My Right”

Thousands of Victorians suffer without palliative care

On World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, Saturday 12 October 2019, Palliative Care Victoria calls on the Victorian Government to provide access to palliative care as a right for all Victorians with a life limiting illness and their families, when and where they need it.

“Regrettably, thousands of Victorians are experiencing avoidable suffering and distress without the palliative care they require,” said Palliative Care Victoria CEO, Odette Waanders.

“They include people living in rural areas and in aged care facilities, Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders, people from culturally diverse backgrounds, people with dementia and people with other advanced life-limiting conditions,” she said.

In 2016, Victoria’s Parliamentary End of Life Choices Inquiry made 29 recommendations to improve palliative care across Victoria. These included: increased funding to meet the need for palliative care, improved access for special needs groups, improved support for carers, and palliative care education for health practitioners.

Victoria’s end of life and palliative care framework affirms that “all Victorians are entitled to high-quality end of life care that relieves pain, distress and suffering and supports family and friends.”

“We call on the Victorian Government to follow through on these recommendations and commitments and to prioritise needed investments in palliative care services and workforce.

“There is a shortfall of at least $35 million in recurrent palliative care service funding for 2019-20,” Ms. Waanders said, noting that palliative care service funding has increased by less than 3% in real terms over the past 5 years while the need has increased by at least 20% in Victoria over that time.

“This widening gap in access to palliative care in Victoria doesn’t make sense. Palliative care improves quality of life, reduces hospital use and supports people to receive care at home, if that is their preference, for as long as possible.

“It makes much more sense for the Victorian Government to ensure that palliative care is a right that can be met for all Victorians, when and where they need it,” Ms. Waanders concluded.

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