New funding for palliative care projects welcome news 

The orange heart, the symbol of National Palliative Care Week in 2023

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Mark Butler has announced funding for 14 National Palliative Care Projects geared towards improving quality and access to critical support and treatment for people with life limiting illness.  

“News of this funding is very welcome as the sector wraps up National Palliative Care Week,” says Camilla Rowland, Chief Executive Officer, Palliative Care Australia. 

This $53 million will allow universities, health services, and palliative care organisations around Australia to build on the foundations of their earlier work. 

“Many of these projects focus on improving education and training for the primary care, acute care and aged care workforces,” Ms Rowland says. 

“Building skills and awareness within the wider health care community will increase access to palliative care which will deliver better quality of life for people with life limiting illness and better grief and bereavement outcomes for their loved ones.” 

Palliative Care Australia has also been funded to deliver the ‘Shaping the Future of Paediatric Palliative Care’ project. 

“I am delighted that the hard work of the PCA team over the last three years in developing the Paediatric Palliative Care National Action Plan Project has been recognised and that we can now implement some of its key activities,” Ms Rowland says.  

“While growing those projects that will drive improvements in quality and access to palliative care, we also need to get Australians talking about and planning for end of life. 

“This funding allows the sector to continue our work in raising awareness about advance care planning.” 

On top of the 14 national projects, an additional $15.9 million will be invested in End of Life Directions for Aged Care (ELDAC), a program that lifts the capacity of aged care providers and GPs caring for older Australians. 

“The Aged Care Royal Commission highlighted the need to embed palliative care in aged care, and over the last three years ELDAC have developed some powerful resources to support that work,” Ms Rowland says. 

“We now need to continue the roll out and uptake of those tools.”  

All up, a total of $68 million in funding has been announced: 

  • Palliative Care Australia – Quality Access and Awareness & Shaping the Future of Paediatric Palliative Care 
  • Queensland University of Technology - Palliative Care Education and Training Collaborative & End of Life Law for Clinicians 
  • University of Wollongong - Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration & The National Palliative Care Coordination Program: Enabling Coordination in Palliative Care in Australia   
  • Metro South Hospital and Health Service - Advance Care Planning & caring@home 
  • Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service - Quality of Care Collaborative Australia 
  • Flinders University - CareSearch including PalliAGED & End of Life Essentials for Acute Hospitals and Clinicians 
  • Pharmaceutical Society of Australia - Palliative Care Pharmacist Foundation Training Program 
  • St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne - CarerHelp: Rural Connect 
  • The University of Queensland - Expanding Palliative Care ECHO   
  • End of Life Directions for Aged Care 

“It was great to see Minister Butler wearing his orange heart in Parliament this week, showing his support for the work of our health professionals and volunteers,” Ms Rowland says. 

“This funding announcement is a tangible outcome of that support; we look forward to taking the next steps with the Minister and his team and making sure that palliative care continues to be part of their health and aged care reform agenda.” 

Read the Minister’s media release HERE. 

National Palliative Care Week runs 21 to 27 May and encourages all Australians to consider ‘matters of life and death’. Further information is available at the Palliative Care Australia website.