BY JESSICA ROUSE

The Cancer Council are pushing the state government for more palliative care doctors and nurses to meet the needs of the Hunter as well as regional and rural areas across the state, as the state falls far behind the national average.

‘Our Stories’ has been launched this morning as a part of the ‘I Care for Palliative Care’ campaign – a collection of personal accounts from those who are currently utilising palliative care due to a terminal cancer diagnosis, and also from those who’ve received care in the past.

The 2016 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report found the use of palliative care services is increasing and as the population grow older, and live longer, this use will only continue to increase.

“New South Wales actually has the lowest level of
palliative care nurses across all of Australia so we need to increase
the number of nurses by 129 just to bring us up to equal level with the
other states in Australia – we also need at least 10 more palliative
care positions to bring us up to level,” said Chair of Upper Hunter Cancer Action Network Sarah Lukeman.

Local Hunter members of parliament including Charlestown MP Jodie Harrison, Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison and Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp, were presented with ‘Our Stories’ this morning, with the campaign also sent to NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard in a push to put an end to the shortage of specialist palliative care services across the state.

“Newcastle itself has problems with people accessing palliative care,
but its even worse in rural and regional areas so we’ve been really
lucky today to have MP’s from across the Hunter here including the Upper
Hunter, where I live in Singleton, all pledging to advocate for more
funding for palliative care,”

Sarah Lukeman also said “across the state over 8,000 pledges have already been made and for the Hunter and Central Coast we have almost 1,500 pledges so we hope with the Dungog relay coming up this Saturday that we will get over that 1,500 mark”.

To pledge your support for the ‘I Care for Palliative Care’ campaign, head to

http://www.canact.com.au/palliative_care_pledge