THE federal government will provide $52 million over three years to improve palliative care services and training.
Assistant Minister for Health Fiona Nash made the announcement as part of National Palliative Care Week which is marked from May 25 to May 31.
Ms Nash said the state and territory governments were responsible for delivering palliative care services, while the federal government supported projects to enhance the overall quality of services.
“The funding will continue to support education and training opportunities in palliative care for health professionals, and promote the importance of advance care planning,” Ms Nash said.
"The funding is in addition to support the federal government provides to state and territories to operate palliative care services, the subsidies for palliative care medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and palliative care consultations under the Medical Benefits Scheme.”
Ms Nash said National Palliative Care Week made clear the importance of advance care planning.
“Less than one per cent of Australians over 70 has an advance care directive in place," she said.
“For most of us, our mortality is something we don’t like to dwell on, but we all want to know that our wishes will be followed so we can have a comfortable and dignified death when the time comes.
“An advance care directive lets your loves ones, your doctor and other health professionals know about the level of care and the quality of life you’d like to have if you’re no longer able to make those decisions on your own.
“Palliative care is everyone’s business.
"Everyone should have a conversation with their loved ones about advanced care. It’s a difficult conversation to have, but a necessary one.”