At least 6000 South Australians who will die this year will miss out on the palliative care they need and want. Greens Health Spokesperson, Tammy Franks MLC, is calling for all parties contesting the state election to address this urgent situation and pledge an additional $24.5m so that those 6,000 people and their loved ones may access the care they need to die with dignity and comfort.
Ms Franks said: “At least $24.5 million extra funding a year is needed to bridge the gap in needless suffering. The consequent burden on family carers, the lack of genuine choice in relation to end of life care and poor quality of their end of life for patients are all reason enough to improve a broken system.
“The unmet need for palliative care in our state is quite simply unacceptable. South Australia lags behind other jurisdictions in caring for our people in their last days. International benchmarks indicate palliative care is beneficial in 75% of deaths. We need to improve access, funding and awareness and enable more South Australians who choose to die at home to do so. Let people die with dignity and give better supports to families in a difficult time.
“There must be urgent review of the tender arrangements for the RDNS palliative service which has seen restrictions placed on access to palliative nursing in the home after hours and on weekends in recent years. No palliative care tender should set restrictions that dictate in home care be confined to some arbitrary concept of ‘business hours’.
“Palliative Care South Australia has asked for our help and the Greens fully support the recommendations formed through an inquiry, the Health Performance Council of SA’s 2013 report, SA Health’s Clinical Services Capability Framework, and the goals of South Australia’s End of Life and Palliative Care Project Board.
“South Australians facing death and bereavement deserve the very best of our care. Palliative Care SA want our help to support people to live, die and grieve well. It’s time for action from all political parties to meet that call,” she concluded.