26 April 2017

Today marks the start of major efforts by the NSW Government to deliver better access to palliative care across NSW, said Minister for Health, Brad Hazzard, ahead of a major palliative care forum at NSW Parliament House.

The Metro palliative care Roundtable today sees more than 80 people with palliative care expertise and community involvement gather to help shape new directions in palliative care for NSW. The Roundtable will be facilitated by respected health broadcaster Dr Norman Swan

The Metro Roundtable will be followed by a series of Roundtables in regional NSW, led by Parliamentary secretary Leslie Williams.

“One of the Government’s top priorities is to provide better end-of-life care and more tailored, community-based palliative care services,” Mr Hazzard said.

“I look forward to today’s Roundtable and the discussions on what is working well, what needs improvement, and innovative solutions to this very pressing issue.”

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

At present, more than half of all deaths in Australia occur in hospitals, though many people indicate, at various stages of their lives, that they would prefer to die at home.

About 50,000 people die each year in NSW, and this will double by 2056.

The Parliament House Roundtable will be followed by regional Roundtables, with the first on Monday May 1 at Orange. Subsequent roundtables will take place in Lismore, Kempsey, Broken Hill, Tamworth, Griffith, Queanbeyan and Kiama.

“While the Liberals and Nationals have strengthened the resourcing of palliative care, more is needed,” Mrs Williams said. “The Metro Roundtable will kick off the ideas coming from every corner of the state and I am confident we will see local solutions identified for local problems.”

Once all the Roundtables have been held, NSW Health will produce a discussion paper for public comment in June 2017.