Southern Highlands Push for Palliative members have welcomed the $100 million funding boost.
Announced by the state government earlier this week, the funding will provide additional positions for six palliative physicians in rural NSW.
It will also fund an additional 30 palliative care nurses, as well as training for 300 health staff in palliative care, and 300 scholarships for rural and regional health staff looking to enhance their palliative care skills.
This funding will be rolled out over the next four years.
Southern Highlands Push for Palliative advocate Virginia Adlide OAM said this was a great achievement for the thousands of people who had continued to fight for better palliative care services.
“This wouldn't have happened if it weren't for hundreds of passionate advocates, Cancer Council workers and people like the Southern Highlands community, sharing their stories about palliative care, signing petitions, talking to their politicians, attending events, and generally making a noise about palliative care,” she said.
Ms Adlide also praised the work of Dr Yvonne McMaster OAM, who has led the Push for Palliative campaign.
A retired palliative care specialist, Dr McMaster has travelled across the state to fight for better palliative care services.
“With a medical colleague 'doing the sums', she had the proof needed to convince Parliament they would actually save money by improving and enhancing palliative care services, saving money by enhancing care in the home for people with incurable illnesses, therefore minimising the need to be hospitalised,” Ms Adlide said.
“Dr Yvonne McMaster is the energy and power behind this state government's announcement of the extraordinary amount of funding. Her name is synonymous with pushing for palliative care funding.”
However, it is not only politicians who have been inspired by Dr McMaster’s persistance.
Ms Adlide said the example set by the health advocate had inspired her to try and make a difference in the Southern Highlands.
“Dr McMaster has given me the confidence and encouragement to write to some of our GPs, asking them to reflect on the need for a culture change which would see more GPs facilitate earlier referrals to the Palliative Care Team,”she said.
Ms Adlide is a passionate supporter of quality palliative care after a friend’s death two years ago which she described as “poorly managed”.