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Make end-of-life care a key priority on COAG agenda: peak body

Palliative Care Australia (PCA) has congratulated ministers Ken Wyatt and Greg Hunt on their new cabinet positions, while acknowledging the work of previous minister for health and aged care Sussan Ley.

PCA chief executive Liz Callaghan took the opportunity to tip her hat to Ley's work as minister, including her leadership in medicinal cannabis reform and for putting end-of-life care on the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) health agenda.

“Ley worked hard over the past two years as health minister to legalise access to medicinal cannabis for people with serious illness,” Callaghan said. “[She] also showed national leadership by putting end-of-life care on the COAG Health Council agenda to improve access to culturally appropriate care for all Australians."

She added Ley’s time as minister will be remembered for the introduction of the Health Care Homes trial. “This trial will provide the opportunity for coordinated care and early referral to palliative care for people with chronic illnesses when needed.”

Callaghan said Ley had plans to focus on palliative care and end-of-life care in 2017, and added the peak body looks forward to working closely with new health minister Hunt to continue that work.

“To improve care at the end of life, we need to get people talking about their end-of-life care wishes, and ensure people can access high quality care when needed, including access to timely and affordable specialist services and medications.

“We also need an integrated information system that addresses the needs of patients, carers and health workforce in the provision of palliative care.

“It is important to maintain the current government focus on end-of-life care, including through making this a key priority for the COAG Health Council agenda,” she said.

Callaghan added ensuring provision of high quality palliative care and end-of-life care in aged care is a key area of focus for the peak body in 2017.

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