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Care For Dying People Given New Impetus

A plan to improve nationwide access to high-quality palliative care for people who are dying was announced today by Health Minister Annette King with the launch in Otago of the New Zealand Palliative Care Strategy.

"Palliative care has proved to be highly effective in improving the quality of life for people with terminal illness, and in supporting their families," says Mrs King. "However, access to palliative care services around the country is too varied, due in part to a poor understanding of the benefits of this care and poor integration with other services, and this needs to change.

"Our strategy therefore aims to increase awareness about the effectiveness of palliative care among health service providers and the public. It will offer practical initiatives to ensure our vision of timely access to quality palliative care is implemented nationally over the next five to 10 years."

Mrs King said the Government was backing the strategy with more money.

"We have injected an additional $4.3 million into palliative care services this financial year, and there will be an additional $7.5 million per annum from next year. Work has been done to ensure that access to this money will be timely and fair and distributed on a population basis to district health boards.

"I want to ensure that essential services are available for all dying people and that each district health board area has at least one palliative care service available. I am calling on the palliative care community and the DHBs to take the new Palliative Care Strategy on board and to work with the Government in its implementation," Mrs King said.

The New Zealand Palliative care Strategy is available on the Ministry of Health website: www.moh.govt.nz

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