Time is of the essence with palliative care soultion

IT’S time to stop singing your praises and put your money where your mouth is.

Tamworth has been beating the drum for improved palliative care for almost two years.

In itself, a cause which highlights how limited and valuable time really is.

It’s been nearly two years since Mitch Williams and Lucy Haslam came together, united by the loss of loved ones to cancer, to make some noise about how stretched local services are in end-of-life care.

The drums beat louder and louder with other region’s joining in lockstep, rallying for change.

Before the NSW government changed its tune on palliative care, it took its time.

The government had to learn by ear what each region was saying taking roundtable meetings to each corner of the state.

When the noise became too much to bear, the government stepped up for its solo and laid out $100 million for palliative care.

It was trumpeted as a record spend and a response to the continued calls from communities around the state.

Widely welcomed at the time, the silence since then has made way for the drums to beat once again.

It also comes with the NSW auditor-general’s scathing analysis of NSW Health’s handling of palliative care chiming-in.

“NSW Health’s approach to planning and evaluating palliative care is not effectively coordinated,” the report said.

“NSW Health has a limited understanding of the quantity and quality of palliative care services across the state,” it continued.

Tamworth’s advocate for better end-of-life care said it’s been a frustratingly slow process.

“The politicians are happy for a media grab, but they need to start performing,” he said.

Too right.

Enough headlines, enough announcements, enough song and dance, enough call and response; it’s time to put that $100 million to use.

Time is absolutely of the essence when it comes to palliative care, so why are we taking so much of it when the problems are there and a $100 million answer has been laid down?

Unfortunately, the dance will go on for a bit longer.

Even once the plan is laid down for the region, we will probably be faced with the challenge filling professional health roles in the bush.