4 Mar 2019

Palliative care plays a vital role at the end of life for many Australians, improving quality of life for individuals and the carers, family and friends supporting them as well as reducing the physical and emotional distress of dying.

Last week, the Australian Government launched the National Palliative Care Strategy 2018 (National Strategy). The National Strategy is a commitment by all Australian governments to ensure that evidence-based, quality palliative care is available to everyone who requires it.

Urbis is delighted to see National Strategy released. It was developed by Urbis based on extensive consultation with over 150 stakeholders and will play a pivotal role in ensuring that people at the end of their life are able to access the care they need.

The development of the Strategy was a key recommendation of Urbis’ evaluation of the previous National Strategy, which was undertaken in 2016

The project was led by Dr Linda Kurti and managed by Christina Griffiths, with the aim of providing a clear direction for Australian governments and palliative care organisations to improve palliative care so that people affected by life-limiting illnesses get the care they need to live well.

The Strategy reflects the strong feedback that we received that palliative care should be a person-centred approach where those affected by life-limiting illness are at the heart of their care.

Linda Kurti View Profile

The 2018 Strategy, which has been endorsed by all Australian Health Ministers, outlines seven goals for improving palliative care. These include a commitment that palliative care will be available in all care settings, and that the Strategy will be supported by a national governance structure which will be responsible for reporting annually on the progress made against each of the goals.

The implementation of the 2018 Strategy will be guided by an Implementation Plan that Urbis has been recently been commissioned to develop in close consultation with all Australian governments. The Implementation Plan will identify the specific activities that will be undertaken to support the goals in the Strategy, with annual monitoring of progress ensuring accountability.

While the assisted dying or euthanasia debate has recently dominated discussion around end of life, governments are recognising that an aging population with increasingly complex needs will require investment in quality palliative care to ensure that people at the end of their life can receive the care that matches their needs and preferences.

This commitment has been highlighted by both major parties contesting the NSW state elections promising to invest millions of dollars to boost the delivery of palliative care through additional staffing or facilities.