Palliative care’s purpose is to enhance the quality of life for patients and their carers. It also aims to fulfil choices about care style and location for those approaching death. Politicians regularly express their support for palliative care. Yet, there is often a chasm between such positive rhetoric and actual delivery.
The gap isn’t new. A 2012 Senate review expressed concern at the “variance in the standard and quality of palliative care” across Australia. In April 2017, the New South Wales Auditor General was scathing in her criticisms of the state’s services, and in 2015 the Victorian Auditor General highlighted “room for improvement” – this in a state recognised as having the gold standard in palliative care.
A report by the Grattan Institute in 2014 also identified a need for better end-of-life services across Australia.