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Speech Annette King - Arohanui Hospice Extension

Opening Of Extension To Arohanui Hospice
Palmerston North
Thursday, May 4, 2000
Arohanui Hospice A Community Model For Care

SPEECH BY THE HON. ANNETTE KING

MINISTER FOR HEALTH

Good afternoon. Thank you for your invitation to speak here today. It is a pleasure to be speaking here at the launch of the new extension of the Arohanui Hospice. The need for the extension reflects the role that palliative care is increasingly playing within the health care sector. It is also an indication of the growth in referrals that many hospices are now experiencing.

Having spent an enjoyable three years working in Palmerston North, I know some of the history of Arohanui Hospice, particularly of the struggle to make the hospice a reality in the first place.

That struggle, inspired particularly by the late and treasured Dr Garth Wallace, was eventually rewarded, but not without a wholehearted community effort in support.

Under the changes I am proposing to the health system, I am placing a great deal of emphasis on community involvement. The birth of Arohanui Hospice was a tribute to the community working together to make something important happen. The community involvement in fundraising was broad-based, and I think it was particularly notable that one of the major initiatives was undertaken by the police in the district, working with the local newspaper, the Evening Standard, and local radio stations. Arohanui Hospice is a place in which people of this district can take special pride.

I know that every single member of the staff at Arohanui Hospice plays a role in ensuring that quality pervades all that you do, not only at the service delivery “coalface”, but also in so many other ways behind the scenes.

One of the pleasures of my job is meeting health workers who are so dedicated and committed to working together to support patients and their families, and to delivering a first class service. Equally as important in the case of Arohanui are those of you who support the hospice in other less visible ways, those who support it financially, and those who support it by volunteering their time.

As many of you will be aware there has been a significant amount of work undertaken in recent months in the formulation of a draft palliative care strategy. I have recently received a draft of the strategy and will be giving the project team some early feedback before it is circulated more widely to groups with an interest in palliative care.

The strategy has been developed jointly by the Ministry of Health, the Health Funding Authority, and the National Health Committee. An advisory group has provided technical expertise, and I am pleased to be able today to thank one of the members of this group, Mervyn Monk, for the time put in so far on the strategy.

The project team and its advisory group have identified some significant issues and challenges that are currently facing palliative care services. I recognise that increased funding will be needed to implement aspects of the strategy and furthermore I do understand the position that many hospices currently face with regard to funding. I know you continue to rely on community support to do your work properly.

Many of you will also know that the Government recently agreed to the development of a New Zealand Health Strategy that will set our goals and targets as we strive to reduce disparities in health care.

I have no doubt that the people who can provide the most help in developing the New Zealand Health Strategy, particularly when it is put out for consultation, are the people who know the health system best, the people who actually work in the sector.

I am looking to the creativity, knowledge, and experience of people like you here today to not only provide input into the Palliative Care Strategy, but also at a more general level to help create a public health system that New Zealanders can trust and have pride in.

The changes to the structure of the health service that this Government plans to introduce will encourage local initiatives to meet local need. It is vital that services are developed in partnership with providers, consumers, and the community.

It is the intention of the Government to ensure that ideas are built around the local history, local relationships and local needs - these are the objectives of the new structure for the health sector.

The hospice philosophy is about working with people who are dying and with their families in a way that supports and cares for them, respects their dignity, cares for their families, and respects human life. In the 1980s this philosophy was not well understood, even in Palmerston North, but the wonderful work of hospices like Arohanui has changed all that.

The hospice philosophy places patients at the centre of a high quality, professional, multi-disciplinary care process that values their personal backgrounds and beliefs.

The Arohanui Hospice exemplifies this philosophy, providing empathy, support, and comfort to the best of its abilities to people and their families at a most difficult time in their lives. I wish to acknowledge all of you here today who have contributed in some way to the successes achieved by the Arohanui Hospice.

The Arohanui Hospice sets a fine example to other providers of health services and you can be very proud of this.

ends


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