This month the issue of restoring territory rights to allow the ACT and Northern Territory to set their own laws has been in the news. The focus of the media coverage has been about these jurisdictions wanting the opportunity to implement voluntary assisted dying, as has happened in all Australian states.
I am regularly asked what the position of Palliative Care ACT is on voluntary assisted dying and my response is there isn’t one.
Our organisation is focused on advocating for quality palliative care for everyone, when and where they need it. The aim of palliative care is neither to shorten, nor prolong, someone’s life – it is to improve a person’s quality of life.
Canberra has a good record in providing quality palliative care – we have wonderful clinical staff specialising in the field, a well-regarded hospice, a great clinical team that provides care in the home, our long-standing volunteer program, the innovative palliative care needs rounds being done in aged care facilities and Leo’s Place, our beautiful home-away-from-home providing day and overnight respite for clients and their carers.
We were absolutely thrilled to find out in the recent budget that Palliative Care ACT will receive $2.59m over four years so we can continue providing innovative care at Leo’s Place, and also pleased to see the commitment from the government for site selection and early design of a 12-bed acute integrated palliative care ward at the Canberra Hospital.
Of course, responsibility for quality palliative care doesn’t only sit with the government and clinicians. People across our community, Canberra businesses, and local philanthropic organisations are all wonderful contributors. The ACT couldn’t achieve what it does without this ‘whole of community’ approach.
At our fundraising dinner on 25th June – usually an annual event, but last held in 2019 for obvious reasons – we couldn’t believe the incredible support we received. Over $180,000 was raised on the night – our best fundraising outcome yet.
Palliative Care ACT is grateful for the support it receives from all sectors of our community, so it can continue to advocate, provide support, fundraise, and invest in quality palliative care – and we’ll keep a close eye on the debates in the ‘big house on the hill’.
P.S. We hope you like the format of the new ‘seasonal’ newsletter – let us know!