Hospice plea to fix crisis in palliative care

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Albany Community Hospice manager, Fiona Jane and chairwoman Jane Mouritz.
Camera IconAlbany Community Hospice manager, Fiona Jane and chairwoman Jane Mouritz.

Albany Community Hospice is urging the State Government to fix WA’s palliative care crisis before introducing proposed voluntary assisted dying legislation.

The proposed laws to legalise euthanasia in WA could be introduced into State Parliament this week, but Great Southern Palliative Care Services argues it is premature to consider the Bill while quality palliative care remains inaccessible and underfunded.

Albany Community Hospice chairwoman Jane Mouritz said there was an urgent need for better palliative care access across the Great Southern.

“From my understanding, the Senate inquiry found examples of limited palliative care in the external region of the Great Southern,” she said.

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“If this legislation wants to have long life benefit to society it will incorporate more funding for palliative care and more education and training about palliative care.

“We need more community awareness of how palliative care can ensure people who have a life-limiting illness have a quality of life until the end of their life.”

WA Palliative Medicine Specialists Group chairman Dr Anil Tandon said he worked closely with palliative specialists in the region and the services fall a long way short of what is required.

“In the Great Southern, and across regional WA, palliative care teams are doing their best with the available resources,” he said.

“But sadly they are not at the level which we ourselves would want if our loved ones needed this care.

“Because appropriate expert care is not available, many have no choice but to continue suffering. As a result, euthanasia may seem like the only option.”

Last month, WA Health Minister Roger Cook said regardless of the voluntary assisted dying legislation, he wanted all West Australians to have access to quality palliative care.

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