Associate Professor Ghauri Aggarwal joins Premier for funding announcement
Concord Hospital's head of palliative care, Associate Professor Ghauri Aggarwal today joined the NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and Regional Health Minister Bronnie Taylor for an announcement about a $743 million funding boost for palliative care in NSW.
"This money will be invaluable in addressing the resource challenges in many palliative care services, not only in rural and remote centres but also in metropolitan Sydney," Associate Professor Aggarwal said.
"We are very fortunate in Sydney Local Health District to have a dedicated purpose built inpatient unit like our Concord Centre for Palliative Care, providing comprehensive specialist palliative care.
"This money will allow other Districts to plan and develop such safe environments for care to take place," she said.
Mr Perrottet unveiled the funding boost during a visit to the Concord Centre for Palliative Care.
Margaret Harrison, a patient at the centre in Concord, met the Premier and welcomed the additional funding for end-of-life care.
"For people who are at the end of their life, to get that special care, it takes away that necessity of feeling they have to end their life. I think palliative care is enough to settle people down," she said.
Margaret lives at home in nearby Strathfield but regularly comes to the Centre for care.
"This centre is just so comfortable and practical and the staff, mainly nurses and doctors that I've dealt with, I find them very caring but very professional," she said.
The funding, to be included in the 2022-2023 state budget, is set to enhance support for end-of-life care for patients over the next five years.
It includes employing an extra 600 nurses, allied health care professionals, doctors and support staff to care for those in their final stage of life and boosting hospital capacity for palliative care.
It also includes improving access to pain management services for patients with life-limiting illness, medication as well as community-based services.
"We're committed to ensuring NSW has the best palliative care services and support in Australia, if not the world," Mr Perrottet said.
"This is about providing the greatest possible comfort and dignity to people who are at the end of their life, whether that's in hospital, at home or in the wider community, right across the state."
A former palliative nurse Mrs Taylor said the funding would provide better access to palliative care no matter where patients live.
"The ultimate goal in palliative care is that it's the patient and the family's choice. It's absolutely their choice about what they want to do. Our job as clinicians is to facilitate that choice and to ensure that they have the best access to care to do that.
"It's about symptom control and symptom management to allow you to go on and live your life in the best possible way for however much time you have," she said.