Govt to inject $52m into palliative care services and training

30 May, 2014

The Australian government will provide $52 million over three years to improve palliative care services and training, the Assistant Minister for Health, Fiona Nash, has announced.

Minister Nash said the state and territory governments were responsible for delivering palliative care services, while the Australian government supports projects that enhance the overall quality of services.

"The funding will continue to support education and training opportunities in palliative care for health professionals, and promote the importance of advance care planning," Minister Nash said.

This funding is in addition to the support the Australian government provides to state and territories to operate palliative care services, the subsidies for palliative care medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, and palliative care consultations under the Medical Benefits Scheme."

Minister Nash said National Palliative Care Week also brings attention to the importance of advance care planning.

Advance care directives

"Less than one per cent of Australians over 70 has an advance care directive in place.

"For most of us, our mortality is something we don't like to dwell on, but we all want to know that our wishes will be followed so we can have a comfortable and dignified death when the time comes.

"An advance care directive lets your loves ones, your doctor and other health professionals know about the level of care and the quality of life you'd like to have if you're no longer able to make those decisions on your own.

"Palliative care is everyone's business. Everyone should have a conversation with their loved ones about advanced care. It's a difficult conversation to have, but a necessary one."