Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens' Health spokesperson
The Liberals have delivered another serious blow to the public health service with the closure of Palliative Care Tasmania. Closure of the only palliative care support and education service in Tasmania will have untold effects.
This is a gross government failure and will force dying Tasmanians and their families to use hospital services, rather than having their final days in their own home.
In the last four years Palliative Care Tasmania has helped thousands of Tasmanians through death literacy.
In Tasmania 26% of people die at home, but more than 70% of people want to. Their services helped train 1,400 medical professionals, and inform 72 community groups about how to die at home.
Tasmania's ageing population has more complex illnesses and a desperate need for workforce development. With more and more people moving to aged care facilities, Palliative Care Tasmania provided essential sector training on the process of dying.
Palliative Care Tasmania also provided essential advice on how to make an advanced care directive. Advanced care directives make it clear when ambulances don't need to be called out, which in turn frees up intensive care units for other patients.
Most people want to end their days at home, surrounded by family and friends. Not only is it more compassionate and caring, it's costs the public less. The home palliative care model can be delivered for around $55 a day compared to more than $1,200 a day in a hospital.
While both services have been federally funded, removal of palliative care services will hit Tasmania's hospitals hard. They're core health services, and play a massive job in keeping our hospital budget from blowing out.
Dying Tasmanians deserve the dignity of ending their days in the comfort of their own homes, with their loved ones. If the Federal Government won't refund palliative care services, their State Liberal colleagues must.