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Palliative care patients to benefit from the aged care reform

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The October Budget represents a significant step forward in our community’s ambitions to deliver quality aged care, better end-of-life experiences, and palliative care for all Australians.

“The strength of what the Treasurer has announced comes from the foundation laid the by recommendations of the Aged Care Royal Commission,” says Camilla Rowland, CEO of Palliative Care Australia.

“Of particular importance to PCA are the 12 recommendations that point to the need for palliative care to be an embedded service in aged care and the need for all aged care workers to receive ongoing palliative care training.

“We were heartened to see some of that reflected in this week’s budget, and trust that the Government will build on that in the May 2023 Budget.”

At first glance, Budget measures that benefit palliative care in aged care:

  • $3.9 billion package responding to the Aged Care Royal Commission.
  • $2.5 billion over 4 years to mandate a registered nurse on-site 24/7.

“Beyond aged care, PCA’s RoadMap 2022 – 2027 calls for more bricks and mortar palliative care beds and more training for rural and regional GPs, and it’s great to see that reflected in the Budget,” Rowland says.

Related Budget measures include:

  • $11.7 million for training of GPs and rural generalists including palliativecare skills
  • $20.6 million over 4 years to support the construction of a new hospice located in Launceston, Tasmania.
  • $3 million over 3 years to improve access to quality end-of-life care in Geelong, Victoria.

“PCA has long advocated for timely access to affordable medicines and it’s encouraging to see the Government respond. Cancer patients represent a significant cohort our sector supports so adding more cancer medicines to the PBS will reduce costs and ease some of the pressure patients and families face,” Rowland says.

“But as always, more needs to be done. We are especially interested in seeing palliative care training rolled out as part of the Government’s RNs 24/7 initiative, as well as additional measures that build the Allied Health workforce, and security around funding for health peak bodies.”

Content from PalliativeCare Australia media release. Note: Content has been edited for style and length.

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