It has been a battle for the right to die in peace and comfort and with Monday came news of victory as the state government announced $100 million in funding for palliative care in regional areas and Griffith played a role.
On the ground the announcement will mean 300 scholarships for rural and regional students to enhance their skills in palliative care, an extra six specialist nurses in rural and regional areas the development of a program to to develop a program in line with what the community expects and that is culturally appropriate.
Griffith threw its considerable weight behind the Cancer Council’s ‘I care for palliative care’ campaign to see changes such as these during the 2017 Relay for Life.
“Powerhouses” behind rallying this support Grant and Denise Hearn encouraged more than 1000 locals to pledge their names to the cause – with the city doing more than its fair share of the legwork to get a result to benefit all in the state.l
On Wednesday Mr Hearn said he had been astounded to hear the news their cause would receive millions in funding.
“I felt really proud because the Griffith community, we are only about one per cent of the state’s population, and those 1000 pledges added up to about seven or eight per cent of the total signatures collected,” he said.
Community programs manager for the Western NSW branch of the Cancer Council Melissa Nixon said those who were living with terminal illnesses deserved the best possible care and support wherever it is needed, praising the Griffith community for their efforts in drawing the government’s attention to the issue.
Ms Nixon said the funding was “desperately needed” and welcomed news the package would also look to address culturally appropriate palliate care for Aboriginal people.
“We hope that the government will also ensure the training will include education about the cultural needs of Aboriginal people during the palliative and end-of-life phase,” she said.
“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.
“We know that we need more specialist palliative care nurses and physicians in NSW and these scholarships will help ensure there’s a workforce ready to step into future funded specialist roles.”