Lake Macquarie Palliative Care Services

18th October 2017

Mr GREG PIPER ( Lake Macquarie ) ( 15:24 :40 ): I move:

That General Business Notice of Motion (General Notices) No. 2347 [Lake Macquarie Palliative Care Services] have precedence on Thursday 19 October 2017.

This notice of motion relates to the provision of palliative care outreach services within Lake Macquarie and, no doubt in other areas of the Lower Hunter and perhaps around the State. There is no moment in time more charged with emotion than when we say a final farewell to a loved one. For many, that time comes following a long period of illness, often with that loved one in significant pain. Family and friends struggle with the burden of being unable to ease or relieve the pain to a point that gives reasonable quality of life and dignity to that person. As we all know, palliative care has improved greatly and for most people in this stage of life this care works well. It works particularly well for those who have access to a 24/7 palliative care service, such as the one provided by the Calvary Mater hospital at Waratah.

However, this wonderful service is not provided equitably through the Lower Hunter. The stark difference between the haves and the have-nots is exemplified in Lake Macquarie, where the 24/7 service ends at Fennell Bay, leaving more than half the population of my electorate to rely on a business-hours service and an out-of-hours phone service. I am told that the service extends for a radius of 20 kilometres from the Calvary Mater hospital at Waratah. However, the delineating line in my electorate is some 16 kilometres from there. That is clearly not the fact of the matter. I know that other members in this place have experienced the loss of a loved one, but I have been with more people at the moment of their death than many others have. I recognise the member for Port Macquarie and others who were in the nursing profession.

I have lost members of my family, such as my mother and father. I have seen people who have experienced what I would call a good passing and those whose experience I regret greatly, including in situations when I could perhaps have done more to help ease their pain. I cannot do that for everyone, but better extended palliative care services throughout Lake Macquarie and the State will go a great way towards easing the pain.

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