The Victorian Health Minister, the Hon. Mary-Anne Thomas, visited our new Palliative Care Hub and Wellness Centre in Narre Warren in September and met with staff, volunteers and client Ivan D’Cruz. Our CEO Kelly Rogerson took the opportunity to thank the Victorian Government for their $2 million contribution towards the building, due to be completed later this year.
Ms Rogerson told the Minister that community palliative care services across the state are experiencing increased demand as a result of our ageing population and the COVID-19 pandemic and stressed the desperate need for more palliative care funding to ensure all Victorians can access the care they need where and when they need it.
“The Andrews Labor Government is proud to contribute $2 million to help you realise the vision for Palliative Care South East,” Ms Thomas told the assembled group adding that the Victorian Government was spending $32 million on palliative care across the state this year.
“Dignity, respect and care, that’s what the health system is all about. We can sometimes lose sight of this and this building embodies that,” she said.
Ms Thomas acknowledged the increase in demand for palliative care and that she had a lot to learn from services like PCSE that support clients by providing palliative care in their home.
A report into the sustainability of palliative care, commissioned by Palliative Care Victoria and released earlier this month, highlighted a significant and growing palliative care funding shortfall in Victoria. Alarming findings from the report show funding increases have not kept pace with demand for services and the rising cost of service delivery. Ms Rogerson told the Minister that the shortfall in funding for service delivery is expected to reach $91 million by 2025. Palliative Care Victoria and its 85 members (including PCSE) is calling for all political parties to commit to a greater investment in palliative care to meet the rapidly rising demand, prior to the upcoming state election.
During her visit, Ms Thomas met with some of our staff and volunteers as well as retired tram driver Ivan D’Cruz. Ivan, 87, was diagnosed with prostrate cancer a few years ago and recently learned it had spread to his spine. He told the Minister about the wonderful support he receives from the clinical team at PCSE as well as the volunteers who provide him with companionship and recently supported him to write a biography.