As Parliament prepares to debate legislation regarding end of life choices, Moore MP Shane Love MLA has demanded the McGowan Labor Government make adequate palliative care available to all Western Australians, no matter where they live.
Mr Love said it was necessary to urgently address the absence of palliative care options in regional WA while debating the issue of voluntary assisted dying.
“It would be a horrific scenario if a terminally ill patient elected to end their life because they did not have adequate care,” he said. “I know of patients in my electorate who have suffered terrible pain near the end of their life as appropriate care was not available away from the major regional centres.”
Last month in Parliament, The Nationals moved a motion demanding the McGowan Labor Government place a higher priority on country health, including palliative care, following more than two years of cuts in the bush. Speaking to the motion, Mr Love said palliative care options were extremely limited or non-existent in large parts of his state Electorate of Moore.
“Two years ago, Labor slashed $22million health funding in Moore which would have addressed gaps in palliative, emergency, acute and post-operative care between Dongara and Guilderton and inland to Chittering – all this in a region lacking an effective hospital network,” he said. “A diagnosis of terminal illness for country patients is particularly traumatic and in the midst of this tragic situation, patients are forced to move away from family, friends and the community they know and love.”
Speaking in support of the motion, End-of-Life Choices Committee chairperson and Member for Morley, Amber-Jade Sanderson MLA acknowledged that palliative care was significantly lacking in the regions, adding “the issue that people in regional areas have is that they cannot die at home”.
Health Minister Roger Cook said the Government should be prioritising country health and palliative care, as outlined in the ‘WA End-of-Life Palliative Care Strategy 2018-2028’. “It is about providing people with the opportunity to have end-of-life care in the communities in which they live, surrounded by the families who they love, and with the clinical support they need,” Minister Cook added.
Mr Love said he looked forward to Labor’s plan to address the lack of palliative care in the regions and would hold the Minister to account on the issue.
For further information regarding the Voluntary Assisted Dying debate, to make a submission online until 24 May 2019 or read the discussion paper visit: https://ww2.health.wa.gov.au/voluntaryassisteddying