House of Assembly: Thursday, March 09, 2023


Mount Gambier Hospice Care

Ms PRATT (Frome) (15:03): My question is to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing. Will the government fund the Mount Gambier In Home Hospice Care service? With your leave, sir, and that of the house, I will explain.

Leave granted.

Ms PRATT: At the end of this month funding provided to this service will cease, which will mark the end of a free service run by volunteers who support people with a life-limiting diagnosis and who choose to die at home.

The Hon. C.J. PICTON (Kaurna—Minister for Health and Wellbeing) (15:04): I thank the member for Frome for her question. It's a very important area in terms of palliative care across the state. I'm aware of the particular non-government organisation of which the member speaks. I understand there have been discussions with the Limestone Coast Local Health Network who, under the Health Care Act, have governance responsibilities for service delivery in the Limestone Coast.

The advice I have from them from their discussions is that they are investing in their own services, and in fact we as the state government have increased the provision of palliative care services right across country South Australia. We are adding 10 additional palliative care nurses right across the state and putting all those resources into country palliative care, because we recognise that there is a growing and unmet need in regional South Australia for people to access palliative care services, compared to what city counterparts can offer. Those 10 additional nurses will significantly improve the ability for people right across country South Australia to receive palliative care.

In addition, it is also timely to note what we have just announced today. I have asked the Health Performance Council, an independent body that has oversight over the health system and is, unfortunately, a body that the previous government wanted to abolish but luckily didn't, wasn't successful in their attempt to do that, to undertake a review of palliative care services across the state. I would like to thank the member for Light who was instrumental in pushing for this inquiry to take place. They will be reporting next year on a series of recommendations. I think we all understand the importance of palliative care to make sure that it's high-quality palliative care, that it's accessible for people across the state, it's contemporary and able to keep pace with the growing demand for those services.