Regions gain extra staff, key training

Melissa Nixon

Melissa Nixon

Cancer Council NSW has welcomed a $100 million boost for palliative care after pushing a campaign to address a “staff shortage”.

The NSW government has announced a raft of measures including six new palliative care specialists and two relief positions in rural and regional areas, and 300 scholarships for staff working in these regions to enhance their palliative care skills.

Cancer Council spokeswoman Melissa Nixon said she was glad the community voices behind the campaign had been listened to.

“It’s something we have been drawing to the government’s attention for a number of years, especially in the Border area,” she said.

“We are pleased to see the government taking action. Six palliative care specialist positions is very positive, because we know there is a shortage of specialist physicians across NSW.

“The allocation of 300 scholarships specifically for rural and regional staff is a very positive step in reducing the inequity in access to palliative care.” Member for Albury Greg Aplin said he expected the Murrumbidgee Health District and Southern NSW to be covered by the funding.

“Murrumbidgee operates across the whole region – from Tumut to Albury –  we would expect some additional palliative care positions in that region,” he said.

Mr Aplin said he was pleased by recent statistics on care in the region from HammondCare, but the $100 million would further improve care.

"Sixty-two per cent of people who wanted to die at home were able to, compared with 14 per cent across Australia," he said.

“There’s still room for improvement and this budget allocation will go towards that.”