Palliative care investment and reform
The Queensland Government provides ongoing investment in the Queensland palliative care system.
Palliative care services are delivered in a range of settings including public and private hospitals, hospices, residential aged care facilities and private residences.
The Queensland Government has committed additional funding of $171 million from 2021-22 to 2025-26 to lead reforms to palliative care. This significant additional investment will fund critical initiatives to expand and strengthen palliative care services for Queenslanders to ensure it remains high-quality, accessible and enables people to exercise genuine choice at end of life, allowing them to die with dignity.
The new funding will be implemented using a stepwise investment approach, with investment gradually increasing over the five years to demonstrate an immediate, but pragmatic commencement of service delivery. By 2025-26, the total approximate spend on palliative care is expected to be close to $250 million each year. For an overview of the funding package, please see here.
A package of work, collectively called the Palliative Care Reform Program, includes:
- developing and implementing a new Palliative and End-of-Life Care Strategy
- investing in community-based services to improve and promote choice for care at end of life through increased home-based and after-hours care, focusing on regional, rural and remote service provision
- growing and investing in Queensland’s specialist palliative care workforce and developing a new workforce plan
- supporting practitioners and delivering public education and advocacy.
Queensland Health has commenced the development of the Palliative and End-of-Life Care Strategy. The Strategy will guide local service delivery to ensure all Queenslanders can access high quality palliative care and achieve their goals for care at the end-of-life.
Queensland Health is progressing work on a process where organisations can seek funding under the proposed $54.8 million community-based palliative care services initiative. Queensland Health is also advancing its work and will soon engage with Hospital and Health Services on the proposed $102.5 million for a workforce plan.
Undertaking this strategic planning work, to inform the development of the Strategy and workforce plan, is an essential part of making sure that the new funding is allocated to areas of greatest need.
Current investment, programs and initiatives
It is currently estimated that in 2020-21, Hospital and Health Services will have spent approximately $149 million on palliative care services.
In 2020-21 the Queensland Government also:
- provided funding to non-government organisations for the delivery of palliative care services. This included clinical palliative care services as well as training, information and awareness services.
- continued sponsorship of the Palliative Care Queensland Ambulance Wish Program to support people with life-limiting conditions to fulfil their final wish, while promoting community awareness of palliative care.
During 2019-20 and 2020-21 new funding was allocated for the delivery of palliative care services in community-based settings, with a focus in areas outside of South East Queensland, to assist people with a life-limiting illness to be cared for, and die, in their place of choice.
This new funding over the last two years has helped introduce:
- a new paediatric palliative care outreach collaborative for new regional and remote services for children
- assistive technology through an extension of the Medical Aids Subsidy Scheme
- the establishment of services to support practitioners providing palliative care
- and specialist telehealth services to provide comprehensive multidisciplinary tele-video care to patients in rural and remote Queensland.
The Queensland Government also supports the palliative care needs of people living in residential aged care facilities through participation in the Comprehensive Palliative Care in Aged Care measure by implementing the Specialist Palliative Care in Aged Care Project.
Queensland Health also undertakes a number of initiatives that aim to raise awareness about the importance of discussion and planning for care at the end of life, including the development of care at the end of life resources.
Advance care planning is also supported through the Office of Advance Care Planning.
All of these programs and initiatives support people to receive the compassionate care they need at the end stages of life, in hospital, hospice, community or home settings, including residential aged care facilities.