Petition demands more funding so terminally ill can die at home

A PALLIATIVE care specialist is urging people from the central west to get behind a petition to convince the NSW government to put up more funds to ease the pain and burden on the terminally ill and their families by providing more services.

Dr Yvonne McMaster met with member for Orange Andrew Gee and other Coalition politicians on Wednesday at State Parliament in the lead-up to a scheduled debate in Parliament late yesterday afternoon following the presentation of a petition of almost 60,000 signatures from across the state.

The petition is urging the government to put in an additional $50 million over four years to meet the demands of people who want to die at home free of pain.

“Our research shows that 80 per cent of people want to die at home and there needs to be sufficient funding for rural and regional NSW to provide enough specialist palliative doctors and sufficient specialist palliative care nurses for hospitals and the community for this to be sustainable,” Dr McMaster said.

Dr McMaster is calling on Health Minister Jillian Skinner to commit more funds, saying palliative care has been under-invested in this state for decades.

She said people in rural and regional NSW were finding it increasingly difficult to access sufficient help.

“Of those many thousands of signatures in the petition I told Mr Gee there were 772 from the Orange electorate, and the aim of the meeting with him and the other Coalition representatives was to make them aware of the situation,” Dr McMaster said.

“I have decided to keep the petition going because I know there are pockets of areas I haven’t been able to get to so far.”

Dr McMaster said when reviewing the petition she found a much higher proportion of people in regional areas signed their names.

“That was very interesting considering that people in the metropolitan areas had much easier access to the petition,” she said.

Dr McMaster said elderly people dying in nursing homes was also a primary focus for her push for more funding.

‘We need sufficient clinicians to consult in aged-care facilities and to build clinical capacity and competence in the primary care workforce,” she said.

Dr McMaster said, in many cases, end-of-life care in aged-care facilities was amateurish and not best-practice.

She said with no mandatory level of staffing required in aged-care facilities, palliative care delivery at night was an area of major concern.

“If residents are in pain and they can’t get an extra dose that is just simply not right,” she said.

Member for Orange Andrew Gee was not available for comment.

Calare Nursing Home and Wontama Village were contacted for a comment and are formulating a response.

janice.harris@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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