Every New Zealander has the right to access a high standard of palliative care and the support services they need, whether it’s in a hospice, hospital, rest home or their own home and wherever they live in the country, Maggie Barry MP for North Shore says.
“My Members Bill lodged yesterday, the Access to Palliative Care Bill, seeks to amend two health and disability acts to ensure that all New Zealanders can access the best possible palliative care as they near the end of their lives,” Ms Barry says.
“We know that there are challenges to providing end of life care to people living in remote or hard to access parts of New Zealand, so this Bill aims to ensure that DHBs provide equity of access to specialist and generalist palliative care across all communities around the country.
“There are too many distressing reports of people struggling to cope with chronic pain. This is why I have drafted this Members Bill, after extensive consultation with palliative care experts and medical practitioners as well as people whose loved ones have experienced pain and distress.
“The Bill requires DHBs to prepare and publish a strategy for providing palliative care which outlines what the expected palliative care needs are for their community and how these expectations will be met and provided by the DHB.
“This includes, but is not limited to, access to pain and symptom management, psychological support for the person and their family as well as information and support regarding the person’s condition and palliative care.
“It also outlines that the Minister must ensure that service standards for the provision of palliative care are in force at all times.
“I have had a long involvement with palliative care going back to the late 1990s following the death of my father and have been a patron of Mary Potter Hospice, Hospice NZ and Alzheimers Wellington.
“I also chaired a working party for the National Health Select Committee into the care of people who are dying. It is in these roles that I formed the view that the answer to compassionate and effective end of life care is guaranteed access to world-class palliative care.”