Southern NSW Local Health District receives palliative care boost

IN CHARGE: Southern NSW Local Health District chief executive, Andrew Newton.
IN CHARGE: Southern NSW Local Health District chief executive, Andrew Newton.

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Health authorities are yet to decide where an additional palliative care medicine specialist will be located.

The Southern NSW Local Health District was announced late last year as just one of nine Districts to receive an extra specialist. It was part of what the government said was a $3.06 million investment to “improve care and choices” for palliative patients.

A spokesman for the District said management was in the process of deciding where in the Southern region the specialist would be located and how it would use this position as part of its wider approach to palliative care.

“Once this has been established, recruitment for the position will commence,” he said.

The State Government has allocated $100 million over four years to palliative care services, with $17.4 million to be spent in 2017-18.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said it came on top of the approximate $210m already spent in this area annually.

“The District welcomes the funding for the role, which will supplement the existing specialist palliative care nursing service in Goulburn and the rest of the District,” the spokesman said.

“Meanwhile, SNSWLHD is also in discussions with nearby Health Districts, to consider other potential options to help further enhance the service across the LHD.”

The State budget also allocates $795,000 for two rural palliative care relief positions to support specialists and GPs in hospital and in the community. The government is undertaking an expression of interest process with LHDs and specialty networks to host these positions.

Last week, SNSHD CEO Andrew Newton pledged that the new Goulburn Base Hospital would have sufficient palliative care. This would be complemented by home-based care.

The Health Service’s 2014 clinical services plan stated that the incidence of new cancer cases was growing at four to five per cent annually from 2006 to 2021 and beyond.  

The Cancer Institute also projected that there would be 291 new cases of cancer in 2021 for the Goulburn region resident population (220 new cases for Goulburn Mulwaree and 71 for Upper Lachlan).

This represented a 22pc increase over 10 years on the 238 new cases of cancer in Goulburn Mulwaree and Upper Lachlan in 2011.

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