In 2019, there is a focus on improving palliative care. This is in response to the Joint Select Committee Report on End of Life Choices. The My Life My Choices Report from this committee is a weighty 600 pages, and a 16-page summary of the report and the response from the current government is also available.
As we noted in pages 9-10 of our Autumn edition of Health Matters, there are divergent views on end of life choices. A key concern from disability advocate Sam Connor was the systemic discrimination of people with disabilities, and the plea to be assisted to live, before being assisted to die.
Our submission to the WA Voluntary Assisted Dying Legislation Consultation echoed this concern. We also noted that “In truth, VAD is going to be accessible to very few people.” What is going to make the most difference to the most West Australians we believe, is access to good quality palliative care.
It would be wonderful if palliative care had more positive community connotations – about living well, having choice and comfort from distressing symptoms.
Joint Select Committee Chair Amber-Jade Sanderson has commented in the past that whenever there is a focus on voluntary assisted dying in any jurisdiction around the world, more focus and funding is put onto palliative care. And right now there is a focus on palliative care that we need to leverage. There is new funding for services, and a mandate to review palliative care models from a consumer perspective.
Summit 24th August
This Summit was convened by the Minister for Health and brought together everyone interested in the delivery of palliative care in Western Australia – Health professionals, general practitioners, palliative care specialists, health consumers and carers. It aimed to shape how we put into practice Recommendations 7-18 of the My Life My Choices Report, the Palliative Care Strategy 2018 – 2028 and relevant Sustainable Health Review Report 2018 Recommendations.
HCC undertook a short consumer survey to explore people’s experiences and views on palliative care. You can still have your say in this short survey – you can have a look at the questions here before you jump online and complete the survey.
There were 28 responses to the survey presented to those that attended the Summit, you can watch the 7 minute presentation below:
Pip Brennan, Executive Director