After-Hours Primary Care Review

This submission responds to the Department of Health and Aged Care’s Review of after-hours primary care policies and programs.

Like many people with ongoing health conditions, the health care needs of people with life-limiting illnesses can be distinctly different after hours. For example, pain and other symptoms can worsen or vital equipment can fail. Often, skilled primary care professionals can provide the right care for these issues, with advice from specialist palliative care clinicians as required.  But at present, many patients cannot access the care they need after hours, leading to avoidable hospitalisations.

This submission recommends national mapping of after-hours palliative care services, development of minimum service benchmarks, and investment in hospital avoidance and after-hours palliative care through the National Health Reform Agreement Addendum 2025-20.

The submission also makes recommendations to:

  • Better support General Practitioners to provide palliative care after-hours
  • Improve non-clinical care for people under 65 with life-limiting conditions who are not NDIS eligible
  • Enhance multidisciplinary care, including by supporting the after-hours roles of paramedics and community pharmacists in palliative care.
PCA Submission After Hours Primary Care Review.pdf