While we are waiting – hopefully – for ministerial sign-off on funding for the four palliative care beds at Dudley Private Hospital, Orange Push for Palliative thought an update was in order.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard is on leave for three weeks and despite an undertaking to us that we would have his decision in early July, his staff tell us that we will have to wait.
This is a disappointing delay to us and the Orange community, particularly as we are very aware that this situation remains a critical issue for many families right now.
Only recently a young woman contacted us on our Facebook site concerned about the circumstances surrounding her grandmother’s death at our local hospital.
She described the difficulties of getting a peaceful, restful space in the busy hospital. She described her nan being wheeled “throughout the entire hospital from emergency in front of countless people. No privacy. No dignity in her final hours”.
She finished be saying, “I want to actively support a push for a palliative care unit in Orange where people like nan would not get moved from room to room and have trained, experienced staff regularly walking past or coming in just to see if we require anything”.
This young woman echoes the feedback we receive regularly from Orange residents.
So, Minister, we will continue to vigorously advocate for the additional funding for palliative care beds at Dudley Private Hospital. We will not go away, nor will the issue.
That an acute care, level five hospital can not provide the type of peaceful care people need at the end of their life.
The acute hospital is too busy, too pressured, and too focussed on fixing people and getting them home in the shortest possible time to also manage the slower, peaceful, restful pace needed.
The hospital staff do their very best to manage these different situations, but there will always be competing priorities and pressure for staff to balance.
When there is no active, life-saving care required, the sick, acute patients inevitably get priority.
When we met with the Minster we were greatly heartened by his interest and understanding of Orange’s situation.
So, Minister, we will continue to vigorously advocate for the additional funding for palliative care beds at Dudley Private Hospital.
We will not go away, nor will the issue.
In the meantime we are focussing on preparations for a favourable Ministerial decision. We have 21 GPs from the medical practices in Orange who have indicated they can provide medical care for their palliative care patients at Dudley.
Our local member Philip Donato, and Prue Buist, CEO of Dudley Private Hospital, are contacting the GPs with the necessary paperwork so that this arrangement can be activated as soon as the Minister’s decision is announced.
It is important to know that these arrangements will be for all people from Orange.
You will not have to have private health insurance to access this service, even though it is at Dudley. The Local Health District (LHD) will fund the four beds and medical coverage at Dudley. These beds will act as satellite beds of the local hospital.
This is why the Minister needs to provide the additional funding for the LHD for the four additional satellite beds at Dudley.
This arrangement is not new in NSW. There is a similar arrangement at Calvary Private Hospital in Wagga Wagga with the Murrumbidgee LHD.
We urgently await a ‘yes’ from the Minister.
Jenny Hazelton, president of Orange Push For Palliative
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