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King announces millions for Palliative Care

King announces millions for Palliative Care and a new, New Zealand Palliative Care Strategy.

Health Minister, Annette King, has today announced a further $3m to be spent on palliative care in New Zealand. The new money is on top of the base of $13.5m in the current financial year. In addition, the Minister has asked the HFA to report by the end of September on a further $4.5m to improve an increase spending in line with the Palliative Core Strategy.

Annette King today encouraged the public to participate in discussion to ensure New Zealand's palliative care services for the future met the needs of all New Zealanders.

The New Zealand Palliative Care Strategy Discussion Document, released for comment today, sets in place a systematic and informed approach to the future provision and funding of palliative care services.

"The key focus of this document is to ensure that people who are dying and their family / whanau have access to all the essential services, and that these services are provided in a co-ordinated and culturally appropriate manner.

The Ministry of Health, Health Funding Authority and National Health Committee have spent the past year working on a 5 -10 year strategy for palliative care, with the assistance of an expert advisory group.

The Strategy has presented nine proposals which are intended to be implemented over a 5 -10 year period, in order of priority.

Annette King said that while development of some proposals can start prior to the establishment of District Health Boards, the strategies have been developed with the future health sector structure in mind.

"Palliative care requires a specific strategy to ensure health professionals do everything possible to enhance the quality of remaining life for the patient and provide the appropriate support for the family / whanau before and during bereavement."

The Palliative Care Strategy will be implemented within the framework set by the New Zealand Health Strategy and the New Zealand Disability Strategy.

People can comment on the discussion document by making a submission to the Ministry of Health before August 25. There will also be a number of public meetings and focus groups. Dates are to be advised. Page two.

A full copy of the New Zealand Palliative Care Strategy document can be found on the Ministry of Health website

END

Background Information

Palliative care is the care of people who are dying from active, progressive diseases or conditions that are not responsive to curative treatment. It embraces the physical, social, emotional and spiritual elements of well-being - tinana, whânau, hinengaro and wairua - and enhances a person's quality of life while they are dying. Palliative care also supports the bereaved family/whânau following death.

This palliative care strategy has been developed because:

* Evidence shows palliative care is effective in improving the quality of life for people who are dying palliative care needs to be better understood and accepted by health professionals so that dying people have timely access to palliative care

* There is a demonstrable need for palliative care now and increasingly into the future. * Palliative care provision is complex and there are a range of issues that need to be addressed.

Fundamental to implementing the strategy is the development of a palliative care culture amongst all health professionals and an increase in the awareness among communities about palliative care.

Page two.

A set of essential services for dying people who could benefit from palliative care. These publicly funded services would include assessment by a multidisciplinary team (initial and ongoing), care co-ordination, advisory and education services, clinical care and support care. A flexible service configuration that builds on existing services and is co-ordinated to ensure that dying people have access to all essential services via three inter-linked levels of palliative care provided within six regional networks:

Contact Pierre Lyndon ph - 470 - 9305.

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