A new report released today has called for an overhaul of the palliative care system in Australia, calling for an additional annual investment of $365 million to bring the system up to speed in a post COVID-19 world.

The report is also calling for a national agreement on palliative care between the Commonwealth and the states and territories, and a new full-time Palliative Care Commissioner, to help create the best experience possible for those with life-limiting conditions and those around them.

“All Australians who need palliative care are simply not having access to services when they need to, particularly at home and in community settings. As we prepare for an ageing population and other unexpected stresses to our health care system, like COVID-19, we must look seriously at reforming our system to ensure it can meet people’s needs into the future,” Palliative Care Australia Chair Professor Meera Agar said.

The report, commissioned with the assistance of the Snow Foundation by Palliative Care Australia and prepared by KPMG, found that if people can be supported with palliative care outside of institutional settings, they can live well and die in a place of their choosing, for example, at home. In practice however, very few Australians are achieving this.

“There is a distinct lack of knowledge in what services are available and how to access them. There is limited coordination between the states, territories and the Commonwealth to ensure integrated responsive services which can meet demand and a real need to address inadequacies in specialist numbers,” Palliative Care Australia CEO Rohan Greenland said.

The report can be downloaded at: