By Shaun Paterson and Campbell Baker
With the election looming, palliative care has been at the forefront of Shooters, Fishers and Farmers member Philip Donato’s regime. Mr Donato has pushed for a major increase in palliative care within the region, since his induction as member for Orange.
His efforts have not gone unnoticed, with hospitals throughout the Central West being assigned an additional six palliative care nurses, under a government election pledge.
Orange secured the funding for a brand-new palliative care extension, partnering with Uniting, to cater for the increased demand of an ageing population. The long-awaited palliative care trial will add a total of four beds to the facility based on Prince Street.
“There will be four beds made available there for the trial process, and these four rooms are four of twenty at that facility”
The New South Wales Government are to cover the entire cost of this trial period, with not only additional staff, but also a refurbishment to the existing facilities.
Philip Donato spoke about how hard he fought to get the facility into Orange, mentioning the considerable resistance from the New South Wales Government. However, relentless lobbying and political campaigning eventually led to the implementation of these new facilities.
“It’s a pity though it has taken so long, it’s a pity it has taken many many years to get to this stage. I know of personal cases, of people who have passed away in less than in dignified ways because there wasn’t a dedicated palliative care service.”
Proposed changes and improvements to the current system were exhibited back in 2017. Talks between 80 people, including stakeholders, politicians and health professionals were held to address the lack of palliative care facilities within the region. It was admitted during this time that there were distinct gaps within palliative care facilities across the Central West.
Since the announcement, Donato has continued to express his excitement for the region, with aims of growing the palliative care system throughout Western New South Wales. It took a total of ten-thousand signatures to earn the upgrade for Orange, Donato presenting the petition to parliament in late January.