"The system is letting people down"
The 19th to the 25th of May is National Palliative Care Week in Australia.
To coincide with this week Palliative Care Australia has released the results of a national survey conducted by contacting people who had recently experienced a bereavement.
The survey is instructive of Australian's attitudes and experience in many ways and highlights significant educational and structural needs to improve Australian's experience and understanding of Palliative Care.
The survey notes that 17% of those surveyed said that they found it difficult or somewhat difficult to access Palliative Care while 11% said that they did not know what Palliative Care was.
This does tell us that there is yet a way to go in this country even though, intuitively, I would suggest that these figures would be quite low when compared with many other OECD nations.
9% of those who experienced Palliative Care were not satisfied with the level of support whilst a further 7% said that the family of the patient received no support at all.
The PCA press release quotes CEO Dr Yvonne Luxford:
"Palliative care seeks to ensure that people have the best possible quality of life until the end," said Dr Luxford. "The lack of access to palliative care services, and lack of knowledge about them reflected in the survey is quite shocking.
"It is great to know that people are pleased with the palliative care their loved receive, but it is clear that much more work needs to be done to ensure that everyone who could benefit from palliative care is able to access it. Currently, the system is letting people down."
We should not even begin to contemplate euthanasia and assisted suicide until every Australian has equal access to the highest standard of palliative care. To do otherwise would be to risk abandoning people on the basis of where they live.
You can read PCA's Press Statement in full HERE.
You can read PCA's National Concensus Statement HERE.