WIDE Bay MP Llew O'Brien has called for Canberra to step in over the top of an allegedly neglectful state to fund dignified care for dying Queenslanders.
Blasting a Queensland Government failure to fund Gympie's Little Haven Palliative Care service, Mr O'Brien told the House of Representatives more support was needed for Queensland to even approach "western world standards" in care for the dying.
"People ultimately look to government to secure (health care) funding.
"And while palliative care is primarily a responsibility of the states, I believe the Commonwealth can do more," he said.
Mr O'Brien said Little Haven had grown and its services more expensive to provide.
Both levels of government needed to change their approach in order to "treat the dying with the respect and dignity they deserve," he said.
"The proper and responsible care of those who are at the end of life is of great importance to me.
"We must always assist local organisations that provide comfort, support and care to those with terminal illness or with a chronic illness requiring palliative care.
"One such organisation is Little Haven Palliative Care in Gympie, in my electorate, and they desperately need our support.
"Little Haven was founded in 1980 as a small community initiative, and is now a major palliative care operation, with nurses servicing the region (from) Kilkivan (to) the Cooloola Coast.
"In the past five years, the number of patients at any given time has doubled.
"Despite this, the level of real (state) funding to Little Haven has not changed over the past year.
"This is not sustainable. In weeks leading up to Christmas, Little Haven received eight new referrals as the local private and public hospitals shut (for) the holiday period.
"This took their number of patients to well over capacity.
"On-call nurses worked in excess of 12 hours a day.
"Little Haven struggles to meet rising costs, and the State Labor Government is failing to help them.
"From a federal perspective, services like Little Haven are not eligible for funding under aged-care packages, even though they are providing vital support to deliver care at the end of life and keeping patients in the place they'd rather be - at home.
"Gympie's a generous community, which digs deep to support Little Haven.
"Little Haven can't continue to rely on the gratitude of private citizens to this extent to fund its vital services."
Mr O'Brien said Australia had "fantastic aged-care facilities" but 70% would prefer to die at home and only 14% did so.
"I think we can do more for a community-driven service like Little Haven. I want to thank Little Haven's business manager Sue Manton for her tireless work and advocacy.
"I'll continue to work with her as I call on both State and Federal Governments to provide support for palliative care in Wide Bay.
"Palliative care services, especially community-driven ones, have long been neglected. It's essential we treat the dying with the respect and dignity they deserve.
"These people have built our communities, nursed us and taught us, and we owe them and their families the support they deserve."
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