The future for palliative care services in the Hunter New England region will be discussed at a roundtable in Tamworth today to better tailor end-of-life care in regional areas.


Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson and Parliamentary Secretary for Regional and Rural Health, Leslie Williams will host talks with health professionals and stakeholders from across the region.


“The NSW Government recognises that delivering palliative care in the Hunter New England Health District has its own challenges, and the needs of patients and regions differ greatly,” Mr Anderson said.


“One of our top priorities is to provide better end-of-life care and more tailored, community-based palliative care services for our patients. We committed $35 million towards palliative care across NSW in 2013, followed by another $32 million in 2015, to increase the choices and support services available to people.”


About 50,000 people die each year in NSW and the figure will double by 2056. Palliative care manages pain and other distressing symptoms for people approaching the end of their life. 

Parliamentary Secretary Leslie Williams, a former registered nurse who worked in palliative care, said we need to ensure people have more choice to die with dignity.


“At present, more than half of all deaths in Australia occur in hospitals, though many people indicate, at various stages of their lives that they would prefer to die at home,” Mrs Williams said.


“As a community, we need to have a more open discussion about how to better support the physical, personal, social and spiritual needs of people as death approaches.”


Tamworth is the fifth of nine palliative care round tables being held throughout regional NSW. Subsequent roundtables include Griffith, Queanbeyan, Kiama and Newcastle.


The NSW Government has provided substantial palliative care support to the Hunter New England Health region including nursing staff that support palliative care patients in hospital and in their place of residence; a 24-hour Palliative Care Unit and outreach service at Calvary Mater Newcastle as well as dedicated Units at Manning and Tamworth Hospitals and a specialist paediatric Palliative Care service based at John Hunter Children’s Hospitals.

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