Palliative care system crying out for help

IT REALLYisn’t good enough.

Palliative care campaigners Mitch Williams and Lucy Haslam

It has been over a year since Mitch Williams and Lucy Haslam shone a light on Tamworth’s palliative care shortfall.

Former palliation specialists, the local Cancer Council branch and loved ones dealing with loss agree, Tamworth is the worst-placed in the state when it comes to providing end-of-life care.

It’s certainly not a rosy topic to talk about, but the conversation isn’t going away any time soon.

Our local advocates welcomed Hunter New England Health’s decision to add one palliation nurse to the ranks, but it’s still not enough.

Mr Williams put it bluntly when he said “there are a lot of people suffering in the New England at the moment due to the slow nature ofdecisions being made.”

Maybe these things take time, but how much is enough when people are “suffering”?

For the Deputy Premier to come to Tamworth and meet with the city’s chief advocates is surely a sign of where our palliation needs are on the government’s agenda.

It’s worth noting a stateelection isn’t far away.

The government’s leadership looks a lot different than it did 12 months and itsstance on a few prickly issues has also changed.

Greyhound racing lives on, along with a number of regional councils that had faced extinction.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian came to power with an eye –and chequebook –for regional NSW, quickly signing off on a $4.25 million contribution to make Tamworth’s sporting centre of excellence a reality.

“I think they’ll ignore the regions at their own peril,” Mayor Col Murray said just days before the announcement.

But palliative care should not be a political issue.

It’s a fact of life and people should not be concerned about what care they’ll receive.

New England has one specialist physician for end-of-life care.

Our health and delivery of care should be in the government’s interest all of the time.

But now there is a chance for the government to make a real change and leave a great legacy.

Because it’s not just Tamworth crying out for help, with cries coming Dubbo, Orange, Bega and the Cancer Council for service boosts.

It’s not good enough and it’s time for the government to make a change.

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