More than AU$60 million boost for projects to improve quality and access to palliative care in Australia
The Australian Government is providing more than AU$60 million for new projects that will help improve quality and access to palliative care. Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual. The funding announced today includes AU$45.4 million through the National Palliative Care Projects grants initiative for 12 projects that will help people on their final journey, and their families, with end-of-life care. Some examples of projects include:
- Palliative Care Australia (AU$5.5 million) to continue its sector leading work promoting quality end-of-life care for all;
- University of Wollongong (AU$7.8 million) for the Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration, which supports palliative care providers to measure the impact of their service delivery for people with a life-limiting illness;
- Queensland University of Technology (AU$12.0 million) for the Palliative Care Education and Training Collaborative, which builds the capability and capacity of the heath workforce to provide quality palliative care;
- Flinders University in South Australia to continue CareSearch (AU$3.6 million), an online resource that provides evidence and palliative care information for health professionals and consumers; and
- Austin Health for Advance Care Planning Australia (AU$4.1 million) to increase awareness and uptake of advance care planning nationally.
In addition to the $45.4 million, the Government will also provide AU$15 million over three years from 2017-18 for the National Specialist Palliative Care and Advance Care Planning Advisory Services project. This project will help improve the palliative care skills and advance care planning expertise of health professionals working with older Australians.
A consortium led by the Queensland University of Technology will undertake this activity commencing this year. These new announcements highlight the Government’s commitment to this important part of the health care continuum. The 2017-18 Budget provided AU$8.3 million from 2017-18 to 2019-20 for the Greater Choice for At Home Palliative Care Measure which aims to improve palliative care coordination. Funding will be provided to Primary Health Networks (PHNs) to implement this measure. This is a pilot program and 10 PHNs (or PHN consortia) will be selected to participate. The applications are currently being assessed and successful applications will be announced before January 2018.