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) and 2020 ($56 million, 2020-21 to 2023-24). Many initiatives are also supported outside of these enhancements.

This funding supports palliative care initiatives in various areas:

A stronger workforce

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

  • the equivalent of 53 full-time allied health positions such as social workers, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, dietitians and physiotherapists
  • the equivalent of 130 full-time palliative care nurses, with 80 expected for regional and rural NSW
  • eighteen Aboriginal Health Workers in every district and network in NSW
  • funding for nine palliative care specialists and two relief specialists in 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 home support packages (Last Days 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:

  • 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.​​​​​​​​​​​​ 

Current as at: Tuesday 31 March 2020