Palliative care investment and reform
In addition to its ongoing investment in Queensland’s palliative care system, the Queensland Government has committed approximately $171 million in additional funds through until 2025-26 for palliative care reform.
This additional investment will fund critical initiatives to expand and strengthen palliative care services for Queenslanders to ensure care 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 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.
The Palliative Care Reform Program, includes:
- developing and implementing a new Palliative and End-of-Life Care Strategy
- growing and investing in Queensland’s specialist palliative care workforce through a Queensland Health Specialist Palliative Care Workforce Plan
- 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 outside of South East Queensland
- enhancing digital and telehealth solutions for consumers
- delivering 24/7 secondary consultation for palliative care practitioners through PallConsult, and
- providing education and advocacy about dying, death and advance care planning.
The Queensland Government is also committed to supporting the health and wellbeing of First Nations people and their families and will invest more than $10 million for targeted First Nations community-based palliative care initiatives. This investment will deliver new culturally and clinically appropriate care to support First Nations people and their loved ones during their end-of-life journey.
What we are doing to reform palliative care
Palliative and End-of-Life Care Strategy
The new Palliative and End-of-Life Care Strategy (Strategy) guides the direction of palliative care in Queensland and delivers the $171 million investment by designing, enabling, strengthening and connecting the system. The Strategy will result in palliative and end-of-life care that is person-centred, compassionate, equitable and accessible to Queenslanders.
- Palliative and End-of-Life Care Strategy
- Palliative and End-of-Life Care Strategy (summary)
- Palliative and End-of-Life Care Strategy - Easy Read
Queensland Health Specialist Palliative Care Workforce Plan
Queensland Health is investing in its specialist palliative care workforce under the new Queensland Health Specialist Palliative Care Workforce Plan (Workforce Plan).
The Workforce Plan aims to build and develop the Queensland Health specialist palliative care workforce. Increasing frontline services will deliver more palliative care services across Queensland, including regional and remote areas, as well as provide additional support for clinicians to deliver palliative care services in local communities. The Workforce Plan outlines Queensland Health’s commitment to delivering care by a skilled, supported, and multidisciplinary workforce for people with a life-limiting illness, their families and carers.
- Queensland Health Specialist Palliative Care Workforce Plan
- Queensland Health Specialist Palliative Care Workforce Plan (summary)
- Queensland Health Specialist Palliative Care Workforce Plan - Easy Read
Queensland Health undertook extensive consultation and engagement to support the development of the new Strategy and Workforce Plan.
Delivering new community-based palliative care services
In November 2021 Queensland Health released an Invitation to Offer seeking proposals from non-government service providers to deliver community-based palliative care services in regional, rural and remote areas of Queensland.
In May 2022 it was announced that Blue Care was successful in the tender and will deliver holistic community-based palliative care services across nine Hospital and Health Service areas in the state until mid-2027.
Under this initiative Blue Care will provide home care support, bereavement and support services, telehealth services, plus on-call and 24/7 nursing care for Queenslanders. More details about when services will start in late 2022 will be available here soon.
Funding proven, effective palliative care services
Funding has been provided to ensure the continuation of key palliative care services and initiatives such as the:
- Paediatric Palliative Care Outreach Collaborative to support the delivery of services for children in regional and remote areas
- Medical Aids Subsidy Scheme – Palliative Care Equipment Program to provide assistive technology to support the delivery of palliative care at home
- Specialist Palliative Rural Telehealth Service (SPaRTa) to support the delivery of palliative care services in regional, rural and remote areas of Queensland
- PallConsult to build capacity across Queensland for community-based clinicians to provide quality care for people approaching end of life and wishing to remain at home.
Other investment, programs and initiatives
In Queensland, palliative care services are delivered in a range of settings, including public and private hospitals, hospices, residential aged care facilities, and home-based care. In 2021-22, Hospital and Health Services spent approximately $157 million on palliative care services.
In addition, the Queensland Government provides funding to:
- Non-government organisations for the delivery of palliative care services, which includes clinical palliative care services as well as training, information, and awareness and advocacy.
- Palliative Care Queensland’s Ambulance Wish Program, which supports people with life-limiting conditions to fulfil their final wish, while promoting community awareness of the value of palliative care.
The Queensland Government also supports the palliative care needs of people living in residential aged care facilities through its participation in the Comprehensive Palliative Care in Aged Care measure by implementing the Specialist Palliative Care in Aged Care Project.
Other Queensland Health initiatives that aim to raise awareness about the importance of discussing and planning for care at the end of life include the development of care at the end of life resources and Advance Care Planning support through the Office of Advance Care Planning.
All of these programs and initiatives support Queenslanders to receive the compassionate care they need at the end stages of life – whether in a hospital, a hospice, community or home settings, or in residential aged care facilities.