Whether helping people with life-limiting conditions to maximise their quality of life or ensuring comfort at the end of life, palliative care is an essential component of modern health care services. The NSW Government is committed to increasing people's access to palliative care across NSW and giving people with a life-limiting illness greater choice about where they receive care at the end of their life.

The End of Life and Palliative Care Framework 2019-2024 articulates NSW Health’s vision of an integrated approach to end of life and palliative care planning and services within the NSW health system. Funding to support activities under the Framework was released in 2017 ($100 million, 2017-18 to 2020-21), 2019 ($45 million, 2019-20 to 2022-23), 2020 ($56 million, 2020-21 to 2023-24) and 2021 ($83 million, 2021-22 to 2024-25).

On 9 June 2022, the NSW Government announced an additional $743 million over 5 years (2022-23 to 2026-27) to enhance end of life and palliative care in NSW. The purpose of this funding is to improve hospital care and community health services for people with a life-limiting illness, and to strengthen equity and access in rural, regional and remote areas.

The media release for this initiative provides further information.

A stronger workforce

A strong workforce is essential for providing high quality care. Recent to enhancements to the palliative care workforce include:

  • allied health positions such as social workers, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, dietitians and physiotherapists
  • palliative care nurses, with a focus on regional and rural NSW
  • Aboriginal Health Workers in every district and network in NSW
  • palliative care specialists and relief specialists for rural and regional NSW
  • palliative care education and training for the health workforce
  • initiatives to support clinicians to speak with their patients early and regularly about end-of-life plans and decisions

Enhanced support for those who need palliative care

Supports funded by NSW Health help to provide the best possible care for all individuals nearing the end of their life, and for their families and carers. Initiatives include:

  • End of Life packages that support people who wish to die at home
  • funding for enhanced community-based palliative care in Western Sydney
  • a new Adolescent and Young Adult Hospice, including outreach and virtual care to connect services across NSW
  • the NSW Paediatric Palliative Care Program, including specialist services at the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network and John Hunter Children’s Hospital
  • local and state-wide services to provide after-hours advice and support for palliative care patients, their carers and families, and health professionals
  • consumer information and resources to assist people from priority populations and their carers
  • improved access to bereavement and psychosocial support services for people experiencing complex grief

Improved palliative care services

Through funded initiatives, NSW Health services aim to promote dignity and to prevent and reduce physical and emotional suffering at end of life. Initiatives include:

  • enhancement of pain management services, including access to new treatments and medical trials
  • initiatives to address gaps in specialist health services to support people with life-limiting illnesses such as cancer, late-stage chronic illness or degenerative conditions
  • support for non-government organisations to provide high-quality end of life care
  • enhanced partnerships with aged care services and primary care
  • service improvement projects, including improved support for palliative care volunteers and palliative care carers
  • digital health solutions to further assist rural and remote patients and their families with specialist palliative care to supplement local palliative care support
  • refurbishment of existing palliative care facilities across NSW, providing a home away from home for patients, their families and carers
  • medication management for palliative care patients through community pharmacy initiatives
  • the Flexible Funding Pool, which allows districts and networks to address palliative care needs specific to their communities

For more information

For information on other palliative care services in NSW, visit your local health district webpage or the links below.​​​​​​​​​​​​ 

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Current as at: Thursday 9 June 2022