Budget 2023 - A strong foundation for ongoing reform
Budget 2023 - A strong foundation for ongoing reformWednesday, May 10, 2023
The May 2023 Budget marks another step forward in strengthening Australia’s health and aged care systems.
Palliative Care Australia (PCA) congratulates the Government for embracing the challenge of systemic reform. Better access to quality palliative care is only possible when the wider health and aged care systems are strong.
With 7 in 10 Australians preferring to die at home and the number of people needing palliative care rising by 50% in the next decade, the role of GPs, nurses, and allied health professionals in delivering palliative care is increasingly important.
This Budget, and its focus on primary health, will help build the capacity of multi-disciplinary teams and the broader health system. It provides a strong foundation for ongoing reform!
However, as PCA’s pre-Budget Submission and the advice of the palliative care sector makes clear, there is a need to do more:
- Palliative care training remains a critical priority, both in primary health and aged care. The Australian Government funds a range of well-regarded training programs, but it’s not clear how these will reach key parts of the workforce – especially Registered Nurses in aged care.
- This Budget makes no mention of new investment in specialist palliative care services. If primary health is to play a greater role, then it must be supported by specialist clinicians when needed.
We acknowledge the Health Minister’s commitment to the healthcare needs of 21st Century Australia. Our ageing population and the growing burden of chronic disease means that palliative care needs to be central to that vision as demand continues to escalate.
PCA values its ongoing partnership with government, and we look forward to further discussions about how palliative care can be integrated into the ongoing reform agenda.
Click play to hear more from PCA, CEO Camilla Rowland…
Palliative care explained as part of primary health, specialist services, and aged care
Palliative Care is best delivered through partnerships between primary health and specialist palliative care services. People with a life-limiting illness can get most of the care, treatment, and quality of life they need from primary health clinicians trained in palliative care.
GPs, nurses, and allied health professionals are a critical part of the palliative care workforce.
However, we need to ensure that more GPs, nurses, and allied health professionals working in primary health receive appropriate training in palliative care.
With 7 in 10 Australians preferring to die at home and the number of people needing palliative care rising by 50% in the next decade, the role of GPs and nurses in delivering palliative care is increasingly important.
On its own however, fixing the well-known problems in primary health will not ensure better access to palliative care for Australians of all ages.
The 2023 Budget contains nothing new for specialist palliative care, which is under increasing strain as demand continues to rise. These services work with people in the most complex clinical situations and on the back of the pandemic have seen an increase in demand of around 30% – in some cases as a result of delayed diagnosis of life-limiting illness.
These two systems – primary health and specialist palliative care, need to complement each other and work collaboratively in order to meet the needs of all Australians.
We must also not forget the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
Over two years ago, commissioners made 12 recommendations pointing to the need for palliative care to become core business in aged care.
Newly announced incentives for GPs to provide more care to aged care residents are welcome but must be complemented by across-the-board access to palliative care training for Registered Nurses in aged care.