Families, staff and past figureheads of Nioka have celebrated 30 years of the wonderful, "unique" and valued service; one that was leap-years ahead of its time.
"To start a service like that 30 years ago was a massive achievement, and well ahead of other hospitals in Australia at that time, and even now hospitals, even those like Westmead, do not have them," David Briggs said.
He was the CEO of Tamworth Base Hospital three decades ago, and was responsible for helping the community get the palliative care service up and running.
"What's even more unique, is that 30 years later you can still get 60-odd people who were involved all those years ago together in the same room," he said.
And you can bet your bottom dollar there was plenty of reminiscing on Saturday, with people shedding tears of emotion because of how much it meant to them.
Registered nurse Ilona Scharffetter worked at Nioka for nine years until 2008, finished her training, and three years ago returned to stay.
"It's the most rewarding aspect of my career, knowing you can do more for the patients and their families, it's extremely rewarding," she said.
"Probably the best thing to learn is to listen, to the patients, the families, you can learn so much from them."
She and Dr Briggs said it would all be for naught without the community, colleagues, hospital and staff support.
"This shows you the power of the community if they are engaged with the healthcare," Dr Briggs said.
"The way the community has supported us, it's been tremendous," Ms Scharffetter added.
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