Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Jan-Feb 2013 Contents A new grass-roots movement to
convince the NSW government to
increase palliative care funding in
its 2013/14 budget has captured
the attention of the state's
politicians, with a record breaking
campaign petition of 60,000
signatures from rural, remote and
petition that bears the same
name as the campaign for which
it represents, More funds for
palliative care, was tabled in
state parliament late last year
and is now the record holder
for the petition with the largest
number of signatories to be
received by the NSW parliament.
The petition asks the NSW
Legislative Assembly to provide
for sufficient palliative care
services to "meet the existing
and anticipated future demands
for such services in all areas
of the state and in all types of
institutions or other places where
such services are required".
The campaign document
also demands that the state
government up palliative care
funding by $50 million in the
2012/13 budget and draws
attention to "gross deficiencies'
in the availability of palliative care
for adults and children.
"I think people know the value
of palliative care as there are
people out there who have had
contact with palliative care services
through their parents, spouses or
someone [else] they love," said
the campaign's lead, Dr Yvonne
McMaster. "They really do see the
need to do something."
NOT ENOUGH TO
Around 38 per cent of the total
number of signatures -- almost
23,000 -- came from rural areas.
Dr McMaster, a former
palliative care doctor, said
the campaign took off in rural
and remote areas of the state,
because those locations are often
left wanting for services.
"It's so bad in rural areas
and people realise that. It's just
so bad. There is not a specialist
palliative care doctor in southern
or western NSW."
According to Australian
Institute of Health and Welfare
statistics, NSW is approximately
200 specialist palliative care
nurses short of the national
average, and has fewer specialist
palliative care doctors per head
of population than any other
In the 2012/13 state budget,
the Treasurer gave $5 million to
This was extrapolated to $20
million over four years. Since
then, another $15 million over four
years has been found, boosting
the total to be extrapolated to $35
million over four years.
However, Dr McMaster and
almost 60,000 other people
throughout the state believe
this will not go anywhere near
meeting the shortfall.
The campaign and the issue of
palliative care itself were debated
in the state parliament's lower
house as the petition was tabled.
Both received bipartisan support.
The most impressive politician
of the four (two Labor, two
Liberal) who spoke on the day,
according to Dr McMaster, was
Barbara Perry -- Labor Member
for Auburn, Shadow Minister
for Ageing, Mental Health and
"Most recently a friend of
mine, Kathryn Gazzard, whom I
spoke about in this House, died a
beautiful death," said Ms Perry.
"I was there a minute before
she took her last breath. But I
saw the care and love given by
all at St Joseph's, and I thank
them for their incredible work,
as indeed I do everyone who
works in this very challenging yet
in many ways rewarding field of
providing service to those who
She added: "This petition
acknowledges the profound
difference that good palliative
care can make."
However, the goals of the
campaign have not yet been
achieved and more petition
signatures are needed to
fully convince the NSW state
government, not just to 'support'
the campaign but to provide
more funds for palliative care.
"It takes a lot to move the
government and get money out
of them," said Dr McMaster.
"...Very often in life, you see
things that need to be changed
but don't know how to do it. This
is a very simple way to change
something. Just get the petition
and sign it, and get other
people who care about palliative
care to sign it."
To support the campaign or
find out more, email Dr Yvonne
By Yasmin Noone
The people have spoken
"It's so bad in rural areas and
people realise that. It's just so
bad. There is not a specialist
palliative care doctor in
southern or western NSW."
8 | JANUARY -- FEBRUARY 2013 | AAA
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