Palliative care report has impact

The PM Glynn Institute’s report A Snapshot of Palliative Care Services in Australia was officially launched earlier this year, together with a series of five podcasts. It has made a significant contribution to public discussion about palliative and end-of-life care.

The PM Glynn Institute launched in 2016 and its work focuses on public policy for the common good. It strives to provide the Catholic community with a standing capacity to analyse public policy issues of concern not only to the Catholic Church and its services, but to the wider Australian community.

The report’s launch attracted national and international attention in both Catholic media and mainstream media, and its author, Dr Cris Abbu, was also interviewed on ABC radio in Brisbane with paediatric palliative care specialist Dr Anthony Herbert.

The report has been picked up in policy and parliamentary discussions as well. Catholic Health Australia cited the report in its submission to the review of proposed assisted dying laws in Tasmania earlier in the year; and Dr Abbu presented the report’s findings and recommendations to MPs in the Parliamentary Friends of Palliative Care group in the New South Wales Parliament.

Speaking in a debate in the Commonwealth Parliament on the laws which prohibit the territories from enacting euthanasia laws, Julian Lesser MP quoted the report's findings saying, "There was a very good, but not heralded enough, publication that came out from the PM Glynn Institute of the Australian Catholic University recently called A Snapshot of Palliative Care Services in Australia. Its author Dr Cris Abbu found a number of key things. First, the number of people being hospitalised for palliative care is growing at an average rate of 5 per cent a year, and services are not keeping pace. Second, the rate of palliative care hospitalisations for children under 15 has increased by more than 10 per cent annually since 2012-13, but palliative care is not a well-regarded specialty that students are choosing to go into. And, third, models of palliative care that give people not just the chance to experience end-of-life care in hospitals, but to do so in homes, are not well advanced enough in this country..."

Mr Leeser’s reference to the report’s findings about the growth in palliative care hospitalisations and the need to do more on end-of-life care at home was subsequently discussed in an article by Paul Kelly in The Australian, examining what the drive to legalise assisted suicide and euthanasia in Australia means for the community.

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