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Working towards a Sustainable Future

The few weeks that have elapsed since the last ‘Hospice Matters’ newsletter have seen some interesting developments, with regards to the collaboration of hospices in New Zealand and as a result of the publication of Te Pae Tata – the Interim New Zealand Health Plan.  

While the mention of palliative care in the Interim Health Plan wasn’t as extensive as we may have hoped, the plan has several key components that specialist palliative care hospices can easily show as being integral to the holistic care offered to our communities.  The most encouraging element of the plan does identify ’stronger primary and community care action’ where it states; ‘develop a nationally consistent model for paediatric and adult palliative and end of life care that is integrated across primary and community health and strengthens the equitable provision of palliative care across Aotearoa’.  At the same time it has also been good to see the appointment of a Senior Advisor for palliative care as part of Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand’s development; we wish Jo Hathaway well in her new role and look forward to working with her. 

 As a hospice sector, we have now formed a Hospice Equity and Sustainability (E&S) Working Group with the intention of developing a model by which greater collaboration between hospices can better support the health reforms, and the work towards a more connected and integrated health experience, for patients, family and whanau, in our communities. One of the key components of the E&S group work, is the Hospice Service and Variation Costing (HSVC) model. This work takes key data sets from clinical core services and looks to better explain the inconsistencies and challenges of core service provision in specialist palliative care. The working group represents all 27 of New Zealand’s Crown funded hospices. 

 The significant challenges faced by specialist palliative care in New Zealand, are unlikely to be solved by either a single approach or by models used in the past and present.   The transformational change needed for hospices requires more than a single solution, and a recognition that while local implementation/delivery of palliative care services should remain at the centre of any new model, and benefits of working in multiple partnerships within a region, will provide for greater opportunity to deliver equity of access and service for our communities.   Any new model of palliative care needs to bring about initiatives that provide not only alignment to the governments reforms but also new ways of thinking for a sector, whose founder Cecily Saunders 45 years ago, looked beyond the norm, focussed on the holistic care of patients and their families, and created critical care and support at the most challenging and often confronting period of people’s lives. 

 Thank you for your ongoing support and advocacy of Nelson Tasman Hospice.   

Tony Gray, Nelson Tasman Hospice, Te Tumu Whakarae – Chief Executive 


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